Risotto Allo Zafferano is a traditional Milanese dish that is very rich in colors and flavors. This dish is based on rice, vegetable broth, butter, and saffron. This ancient spice will give the dish a rich golden color that will impress your guests. Follow all the steps to find how to put on the table an authentic Italian creamy saffron risotto in just 30 minutes.
Saffron Risotto (Original name: Risotto allo Zafferano) is a classic recipe from the North of Italy, Lombardia. Riso Allo Zafferano has its first appearance in a cookbook dating back to the early 18th century.
This is a quick and easy recipe that will get loved by everyone. This risotto is made with homemade vegetable broth, so it can be a good option for vegetarians. If you are looking for the vegetarian version, also replace the Parmigiano Reggiano, with another hard cheese.
Just look at it how creamy this Italian Risotto actually is:
It’s a simple dish that will require only a few ingredients. Because this recipe is so simple, for the best results, you should pick the best ingredients that you can.
Also, if you like all kinds of risotto recipes, you should try our Creamy Pumpkin Rissoto.
Making a perfect risotto is quite easy, but it requires a little of your attention because you will need from time to time to add vegetable broth from and to mix until the rice will absorb all the broth.
In under 30 minutes, you will obtain one of the most creamy risotto that you ever made. I’ll suggest reading the entire recipe to find the best tips on how to make this creamy risotto.
Are you ready? Let’s get started!
Why You Will Love This Recipe?
- This is a quick recipe of risotto. You will have the dish on the table in less than 30 minutes.
- Contains only a few ingredients.
- You can get a great final result even if you have little experience in the kitchen.
- This is a perfect recipe to enjoy the noble taste of saffron.
- Even if this is a simple recipe, you can impress all of your guests.
Tips for Success? How to Make It Better?
- Use the right type of rice. Use round-grain rice, that contains a high concentration of starch. The most common types of rice used for the authentic Risotto Allo Zafferano are Arborio and Carnaroli.
- Use quality butter. Also, don’t be scared of a large amount of butter in this recipe. It is the basis of taste in this recipe.
- We recommend using saffron threads instead of saffron powder.
- Don’t rush to pour too much vegetable broth at once. You will get better results if you will repeat the procedure several times, which will guarantee you a creamier result.
- If you are going to serve a glass of wine near this classic risotto, then use the same wine for cooking.
- Cook the risotto on medium heat all the time.
Ingredients Needed for This Recipe?
- ½ teaspoon of Saffron Threads.
- ⅓ cup of Butter.
- ¼ cup of Chopped Onions. Chop the onions as small as you can.
- 2-3 cups of vegetable broth.
- ¾ cup of Rice that contains a high concentration of starch. Preferable to use Arborio or Carnaroli. Check how much risotto rice to serve per person.
- 1 fl oz. of Dry White Wine.
- ½ cup of Parmesan cheese.
How to Scale the Recipe Up and Down?
The quantity of rice and spices you can increase proportionally. The amount of vegetable broth, you will need to adjust manually depending on how much the rice will absorb.
👩🍳 Step-by-step Directions
First of all, we need to prepare the infusion with saffron. For that, pour hot water into a glass, cover it with a small plate, and let the saffron infuse until we will prepare the rest of the recipe.
Take a pan, and put it on a hob on medium heat. Now, drop in the pan ⅓ of the total amount of butter, and let it melt. After that, add chopped onions that should be chopped as small as possible. Cook them for about 1-2 minutes until the onions will become transparent.
After that, add a ladle of broth to the pan. This will allow you to cook the onions better without getting a fried taste of onions.
After the broth has evaporated, add the rice to the pan. Mix the rice well so that everything is covered with butter.
Quick Tip: When you will cook a creamy risotto, never wash the rice. Because you will wash a good part of the starch and you will not get a creamy risotto in the end.
Be careful not to fry the rice too much because the rice will not absorb the broth. It should take about 30 seconds to mix all the rice with the butter.
Next, pour the wine over the rice and stir the rice continuously until all the wine will evaporate.
Now are the most important steps for a perfect risotto:
After the wine has been evaporated, start adding the vegetable broth into the pan. A single ladle of broth at each step. After you added your first ladle of vegetable broth, stir the rice continuously until it will absorb all the broth.
Repeat this procedure until the rice is almost ready. In my case, I repeated this procedure 5-6 times.
Everything should take about 15 minutes.
Quick Note: It is important to mix continuously the rice without interrupting the process.
Five minutes before the rice is ready, pour the saffron infusion (also the saffron pistils) over the rice.
Quick Note: Check on the package how long you should cook the rice. Usually, the rice should be ready in about 20 minutes. So after about 15 minutes, you should add the saffron. Be careful not to add saffron too early because if it will boil for too long, the saffron will lose its flavor.
Mix well and let the rice boil for another 5 minutes, stirring constantly.
When the rice will be cooked near to the “al dente”, drop the rest of the butter into the pan. Stir until the butter melts and turn off the heat.
After you will turn off the heat, pour all the parmesan over the rice and incorporate the parmesan cheese well into the risotto.
Our Authentic Italian Risotto is ready to be served.
If you followed all of my steps and advices, you should get a similar creamy risotto:
How to Serve?
Classically, it is served on a deep plate. After pouring the risotto on the plate, hit several times the plate at the bottom with the palm of your hand. We do this distribute evenly the risotto.
How Long It Last in the Fridge?
Risotto should be eaten immediately after it has been prepared because, after a short period of time, it will lose its creaminess. Sure, you can eat it and the next day, but this will become a bowl of regular yellow saffron rice.
Answering Your Questions:
What to Serve With This Risotto?
You can serve it as a garnish next to a fish with a fine taste, or a piece of white meat. But, as saffron is a noble spice, I will advise you to eat this dish as is. This will allow you to enjoy fully the taste and aroma of the saffron. The only thing you could add is a glass of good dry white wine.
What Does Saffron Rice Taste Like?
Saffron itself is a spice that tastes slightly similar to herbal tea. Keeping in mind that saffron is a flower pistil. The other ingredient we use, onion: gives our dish a sweet taste because it is easily mashed at the beginning of cooking.
White wine gives a slight acidity, but more important, it is giving a nice wine aroma to the rice. So, for best results, use a good wine.
Vegetable broth also has a sweet taste. The butter, being initially fried, acquires a nutty aroma, and the butter that is added at the end confers a creamy texture to the rice.
In the end, by adding Parmesan cheese, which as it is known, is one of the few ingredients that contain the umami taste (5th taste) and by being salty, it gives a rich taste to the rice and combines perfectly the rest of the flavors.
Is Yellow Rice the Same as Saffron Rice?
Not every cooked rice is a risotto. Rice to become a risotto must be cooked in a special way. To obtain a real risotto, it is necessary to add step-by-step the vegetable broth and continuously mix the rice. This frees the starch from the rice and we obtain a very creamy final product.
What to Do With Leftover Saffron Rice?
As this is an Italian dish, you can experiment and try to make other delicious Italian recipes. With the leftover saffron risotto, you can make “Italian arancini”, “timballo di riso”, or “riso al forno”.
What Is the Best Rice to Use for Saffron Rice?
To get the best risotto, you need round-grain rice, with a high concentration of starch. The most common types of rice used for authentic Italian risotto are Arborio and Carnaroli rice.
Risotto Zafferano – Secrets of a Creamy Saffron Risotto
- Infuse the saffron threads.½ teaspoon Saffron Threads
- Put ⅓ butter and melt it on the pan.⅓ cup Butter
- Add the chopped onions. Cook for 1-2 minutes.¼ cup Onions
- Add one ladle of vegetable broth.2-3 cups Broth
- When the broth evaporates, add the rice.¾ cup Rice
- Stir and fry the rice for 30 seconds.
- Add the wine and let it evaporate well.1 fl oz Dry White Wine
- Add one ladle of broth and stir continuously until the rice will absorb all the broth.2-3 cups Broth
- Repeat the previous step until the rice is almost ready (about 5-6 times / 15 minutes).
- Add the saffron infusion together with the pistils.
- Add the rest of the butter. Stir until the butter melts completely and turn off the heat.
- Add the Parmesan cheese and mix all the ingredients well.½ cup Parmesan
- The rice is ready to be served.
I highly recommend reading the entire recipe to find more tips and notes about this recipe. Read Full Recipe ⇑
- These are short instructions for the recipe. If you need more details and secrets, I will advise you to read the full recipe from above.
My family and kids love risotto and especially saffron risotto. I can’t wait to try your risotto zafferano recipe for them. Thank you!
Parmesan and saffron in this creamy, fantastic looking risotto sounds amazing!
This was such a delicious recipe and very creamy! The kids and hubby loved this. I can’t wait to make your recipe again very soon!
Yum! We like making risotto, and I like the color of yours! The flavor sounds great as well.
Such a delicious recipe! Thank you for the detailed instructions which made it really failproof. The color is gorgeous too
I not very familiar with saffron and cooking with it. I love risotto so I’m now totally intrigued to excited to make this. Thanks for the step by step instructions and tips. I’m excited to make this!
What a tasty way to highlight saffron! So creamy and delicious.
This is how my mom always made risotto growing up since our family is from the Milan area. Love the flavor and color the saffron imparts on the dish. Nothing beats the classic!
Oh wow this is my favorite risotto ~ that color just slays me!
Like paella rice but creamy?? Looks so droolworthily good!!!! Definitely going to try this next time I get my hands on some saffron!
Oh wow, this looks so delicious. My family is going to devour it!
I recently tried your saffron risotto recipe and it was absolutely divine! The saffron-infused flavors combined with the creamy texture created a luxurious and satisfying dish. It’s definitely going to be a regular on my menu. Thank you for sharing this amazing recipe!
Hi Emily! I’m thrilled to hear that you enjoyed the saffron risotto recipe! Thank you for trying out the recipe and sharing your feedback. If you have any other questions or need more recipe suggestions, feel free to reach out.