Risotto, the versatile savory rice dish, amazing. Another Italian dish that can be done in so many ways and paired with many meats, fish and vegetables. The first one I ever made was a vegetarian risotto of goats cheese and butternut squash, the sour goats cheese worked in harmony with the sweet honey like squash and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice added a subtle hint of citrus helping to entice the taste buds. Today I’m doing a classic saffron risotto, quite basic but like all Italian simple but done well. It works especially well with white fish and chicken
Saffron risotto for 2, cook time: 1 hour, prep time: 5 minutes, Ingredients:
- 300g Riso Arborio (risotto rice)
- 70g butter
- 750ml good chicken or vegetable stock
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 small white onion or half of a large one
- 50g parmesan grated
- The juice of half a lemon
- A good pinch of saffron strands
- Salt and pepper to season
Start by boiling your chosen stock, you need to keep this ticking over on the heat as if you put cold stock into your risotto it will stop the rice cooking and make a mess, with your stock warming up you can finely dice the onion and puree the garlic. To puree the garlic the easiest way finely grate it, add a pinch of salt (this will draw out the moisture of the garlic and make a smoother puree) then quickly run your knife through it repeatedly until a smooth paste is achieved.
In a saucepan heat a splash of cooking oil and begin to sweat off the onion and garlic until cooked through, add the rice and stir in letting it cook for 2 minutes to absorb the onion and garlic flavor. You could add some white wine at this stage if you’d like but I personally don’t like the flavor. Drop in half of your butter and let the rice absorb it. Now add a good ladle of your hot stock and stir continuously allowing the rice to absorb it all.
Continuing to stir add your saffron, you will notice the color dramatically alters with this done turning the risotto an amazing golden color. Be sure to keep stirring as the rice on the bottom of the pan will cook before the rice on top resulting in a mixture of some raw and some cooked, not good. Keep tasting the rice to see how firm it is, some say a good risotto is cooked al dente but I disagree, sure a little bite is ok but I believe it should be soft and cooked through.
Keep stirring and adding a ladle of stock at a time in intervals of around 5 minutes until most of the stock is absorbed. Once you feel the rice is cooked to your liking add the remaining butter, salt, pepper, lemon juice and half of the parmesan. All of the stock should be absorbed at this point and you should end up with a gooey effect from the parmesan and rice starch helping the risotto cling together nicely. The butter will add richness and a wonderful silken texture. Dish up your risotto as desired and finish with the remaining grated parmesan, It should hopefully look like the picture below. Hopefully you will enjoy it as much as I did. If you have any risotto left keep it in the fridge for a couple of days, I will be demonstrating an amazing dish for leftover risotto in my next post soon. Buon Appetito!