Saffron Risotto

This is my version of the great Milanese classic – it’s rich, creamy and absolutely delicious. The keys to a delicious risotto: gradual absorption and constant stirring; it’s what releases the creamy starches from the rice. So yes, this dish needs your undivided attention, but only for 25 to 30 mins. Once you try it, you’ll be glad you gave it the TLC it requires.

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: Rice and Risotto, Vegetarian


  • 1200 ml good-quality chicken stock (or vegetable stock if vegetarian)
  • 0.4 g saffron threads
  • 2 tbsps extra-virgin olive oil
  • 75 g unsalted butter, divided into 5 pieces
  • 1 sweet onion (or white onion), finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 400 g carnaroli or arborio rice
  • 120 ml dry white wine
  • 100 g grated Grana Padano (or Parmigiano Reggiano)


  1. Pour the stock into a medium saucepan, add the saffron and bring to a simmer over medium heat; reduce heat to low.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil and 1 of the butter pieces over medium-low heat in a large saucepan or Dutch oven. Add the onion and season with a generous pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, around 10 to 12 minutes. You want the onions to cook gently without taking on any colour..
  3. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes.
  4. Turn the heat up to medium. Add the rice and stir well to coat in the onion-garlic oil. Cook, stirring constantly, until the rice begins to look slightly translucent, 2 to 3 minutes.
  5. Add the wine and cook, stirring frequently, until the pan is almost dry, 1 to 2 mins.
  6. Add one ladleful of the saffron stock and cook, stirring almost constantly, until the stock is fully absorbed. Add another ladleful of saffron stock and cook, stirring almost constantly, until the stock is fully absorbed. Repeat this process until the rice is cooked; it should be tender but with a slight bite. The whole process should take around 25 to 30 minutes. If you run out of stock before the rice is cooked, add one ladleful of hot water at a time, stirring frequently until absorbed, until the rice is cooked to your liking.
  7. Remove the saucepan from the heat. Add the remaining 4 butter pieces and Grana Padano and stir well. Cover the saucepan and allow the risotto to sit for 3 minutes before serving. You might be tempted to skip this step but don’t – this is when the risotto becomes deliciously creamy. Taste, adjust seasoning as necessary and serve – enjoy!

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