Impress your guests by making this stunning golden Risotto Zafferano. It’s creamy, beautiful to look at, and has less than 10 ingredients!
Risotto Zafferano (or risotto allo zafferano), which translates to Saffron Risotto in English, originates from Milan, Italy.
It is made of a stock of your choice (such as chicken or vegetable), butter, onion, white wine, parmesan cheese, arborio (or carnaroli) rice, and saffron.
Making risotto is very easy, but it can take some time and attention for it to become the creamy, delicious rice dish it is.
This is because you need to add the stock to the rice in parts and gently stir the rice constantly.
If you add all the stock at once or stir the rice too quickly, your rice may become mushy.
Risotto is cooked when the rice is al dente (soft on the outside, but still has a bite to it in the middle), and the rice is slightly runny.
It is best to eat risotto on the day it is made. It can, however, be stored in an air tight container in the fridge for 2 to 3 days.
But it may lose its creaminess and the rice will eventually become gritty.
If you have leftover saffron rice, you can make arancini balls.
It is best to make risotto in a wider saucepan. This makes it easier to mix the rice and helps it to evenly cook throughout the process.
You must stir your rice gently, do not get impatient. By gently stirring the rice it releases the starch slowly. If you release the starch too quickly it will create a mushy rice.
You do not need to stir consistently, but you do need to stir enough so that it does not stick and the rice gets mixed through and cooks evenly.
What is Saffron?
What makes this rice such a lovely golden yellow color is the saffron. Saffron is a spice when comes from the flower Crocus Sativus. It comes as threads which are reddish in colour. When cooked in a liquid the saffron infuses and makes a lovely rich yellow gold color.
This recipe uses saffron threads. However, if you are unable to get saffron threads, you can also use a pinch of saffron powder.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
This risotto recipe takes risotto to the next level. The addition of saffron gives the rice a rich golden yellow color. So, if you want to impress your family and friends by making risotto, why not take it up a notch and add some color to it as well.
This recipe only uses 8 ingredients and does not require any technical skills to make.
With a bit of patience and care, you will be making the perfect risotto in no time.
Cost To Make
Estimated cost = $4.53, or $1.13 a serve
Please note that below is a guide for some of the ingredients we used in the recipe. The printable recipe further down the page has the complete list of ingredients, including quantities and step-by-step instructions.
- Arborio rice: Carnaroli is traditionally used, but if you cannot get it like I couldn't, you can also use arborio rice.
- Butter: This will make the risotto rich and creamy.
- Onion: Finely chopped
- Saffron: Some recipes say to soak the saffron overnight to bring out the color of this beautiful spice. However, I found that this was not the case. If you want a richer yellow color, you can add some more saffron strands when cooking.
- Parmesan cheese, grated: If you are unable to get parmesan cheese, any other type of hard cheese will work well.
- White wine
- Chicken stock (or vegetable broth): Slightly heated
- Salt and pepper: To taste
Below you will find in depth instructions on how to make saffron risotto.
Step 1 - Heat a wide medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the butter and chopped onion.
Saute until the onions become lightly browned. You do not want to cook the onions until they are too brown. You just want to cook them until they are soft.
Step 2 - Mix through the arborio rice and saute until the rice is coated and becomes lightly golden brown.
Step 3 - Add the white wine and saffron. Cook until almost all the liquid is gone from the saucepan.
Step 4 - Add 125 ml (½ cup) of chicken stock at a time to the rice mixture. Gently stir the rice through the mixture constantly until almost all of the liquid has absorbed.
Repeat until all the stock has been used up.
Step 5 - Once all the stock has been used, remove the pan from the heat.
Add the parmesan cheese and remaining 1 tablespoon of butter to the mixture. Stir gently through until completely dissolved.
Step 6 - Taste for seasoning. Add salt and pepper to your liking.
Step 7 - Place a lid on the rice and then allow the rice to sit for 1 to 2 minutes.
Tips for Success
- It is important to gently stir the rice when making risotto zafferano. This is because it allows the starch from the rice to release slowly. If you stir the rice too quickly, the starches will release too fast making your rice go gluggy.
- If you want your risotto to have a stronger yellow color, simply add a bit more saffron.
- Make sure your stock is heated before you add it to the saucepan. This will reduce the chance of slowing down the cooking process of the rice.
- By using butter as opposed to olive oil, it adds a creamy and rich flavor to the rice.
Once cooled, store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.
Risotto Zafferano can be frozen for up to 3 to 4 months. Allow the frozen risotto to defrost overnight in the fridge before use. You can reheat risotto in the microwave or on the stove to your liking.
The rice typically used to make risotto is Arborio or Carnaroli rice. These are short grain rices that are able to absorb a lot of liquid when cooked.
The difference between arborio and carnaroli rice is that carnaroli is a slightly larger grain of rice and is plumper. Carnaroli also has a slightly greater starch content. Traditionally, carnaroli rice is used to make risotto.
Traditionally, risotto is served in a deep heated plate. Usually it is eaten plain, however it is nice with a pan fried meat such as chicken.
It can also be served with sauted mushrooms, roasted carrots, or cooked scallops.
Made this recipe? Let us know how it went in the comments below! We'd love to hear how it turned out.
- 1 cup arborio rice
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 small onion finely chopped
- ¼ teaspoon saffron
- 3 tablespoons (20 grams, (0.71 ounces) parmesan cheese grated
- ½ cup white wine
- 3 cups chicken stock (or vegetable broth) slightly heated
- Salt and pepper to taste
- In a wide medium saucepan, saute 2 tablespoons of butter and the chopped onion over medium heat.
- Mix through the Arborio rice and sauté until lightly golden brown.
- Add white wine and saffron. Cook until almost all the liquid is gone from the saucepan.
- Add 125 ml (½ cup) of chicken stock at a time to the rice mixture. Gently stir the rice through the mixture constantly until almost all of the liquid has absorbed. Repeat until all the stock has been used up.
- Remove from heat. Add the parmesan cheese and remaining 1 tablespoon of butter to the mixture. Stir through until completely dissolved.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Allow the rice to sit for 1 to 2 minutes with a lid on. Serve.