Mains/ Risotto

Simple Saffron Risotto

July 11, 2019

This Saffron Risotto is one of the simplest risottos you can make but feels extra special and is incredibly comforting. Ready in just 30 minutes this risotto can be served as a hearty main or comforting side dish with stewed meats or fish plus leftovers will never go to waste!

An overhead shot of a bowl of saffron risotto on a rustic wooden surface

Risotto is the perfect store cupboard meal whether you keep it simple just like this saffron risotto or add in extra veggies like our Easy Squash Risotto With Thyme or Creamy Mushroom Risotto (extra delicious when in season). 

It never fails to impress and if you serve this as a main course it’s really hearty and filling, you can guarantee there will be no hungry bellies after serving up a big dish of risotto that’s for sure!

The Best Rice to Use

It’s vital to use the correct rice and there are two types I recommend: Arborio rice and Carnaroli rice.

They are both very similar short grains but Carnaroli can be harder to find unless you’re in an Italian specialty store. You can pretty much guarantee that you’ll find arborio rice in your regular supermarket.

Also, there isn’t a better one to use out of these two just make sure to stay away from long grain rice such as basmati. There isn’t enough starch in those to give you a creamy and comforting risotto plus the flavor won’t be the same at all.

How to Make Saffron Risotto – Step By Step

Add olive oil to a large pan/skillet on a low-medium heat then add the chopped shallots. Saute the shallots until translucent but not browned (photo 1).

Add the rice and stir to coat the grains in the oils then add the wine. Simmer for 2 minutes then add 1 ladleful of chicken stock (photos 2-5).

Step by step photos for making saffron risotto

Let the rice absorb the chicken stock whilst constantly stirring when it’s almost absorbed all of it add another ladle of stock, continue with the same process (photo 6).

When you only have only 2 ladlefuls of stock left add the saffron then continue until all the stock is gone. As you stir the saffron will get deeper in colour. Season with a generous pinch of salt and add the parmesan.

Taste for seasoning then serve (photos 7-9).

Using Stock or Broth to Make Risotto

Always use the highest quality chicken or vegetable stock you can get your hands on when making risotto.

I love to have a freezer full of homemade chicken stock to use in dishes like this otherwise I’ll go for ready-made stock that you can buy in tubs or pouches in liquid form instead or cubes or jelly.

The reason is that the taste is VERY different and it makes a huge difference to the flavour of the risotto no matter what kind you’re making. 

I’d be lying if I said I’ve never used a stock cube to make risotto because I have SO many times and it will still help make a delicious risotto but it’s just worth noting that there is a difference not to mention the health benefits of using homemade stock or broth.

The Consistency of Risotto

The end result of risotto varies on preference. Throughout Italy, you’ll find versions that are very loose and almost soup like to very thick and creamy (texture-wise, you’ll very rarely see cream added to a risotto).

Everyone has their own preference and mine is kinda in between so if you want yours looser simply add a little more stock or water and if you want a sticker consistency then cook it for a little longer.

Top Tip: Never turn up the heat when cooking a risotto keep it on a low-medium heat for best results.

A rustic bowl of saffron risotto sitting on a wooden surface

Using Up Leftovers

Leftover saffron risotto is perfect for making Arancini (rice balls). Simple roll the cold rice into balls dust in flour, dip in beaten eggs and roll in breadcrumbs then fry in hot oil until golden brown and piping hot all the way through.

You can even experiment will different fillings such as meat or cheese and fresh or dried herbs and spices.

Top Tips for Making Saffron Risotto

  • Slowly cook the shallots so they don’t burn (it’ll affect the flavour of the whole dish) they don’t take long!
  • Don’t add the saffron too early as it’ll start to lose its flavour.
  • You can add more or less saffron to your liking but remember to not add too much as it can be overpowering to most people.
  • The yellow colour will deepen as the risotto cooks so wait a few minutes before adding more if you are looking a deep yellow colour.
  • Use high-quality chicken or vegetable stock, I like to use homemade when possible (store it in the freezer for making dishes like this) or use ready-made quality stock you can buy in tubs or pouches before reaching for cubes.* See more info in the post above.
  • Risotto tends to need a lot more salt than you think so always taste it throughout. Remember that the brand or variety of stock you use will make a difference some have more seasoning than others so always check before adding more.
  • Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for 1-2 days or frozen in suitable containers.

More Italian Risotto Recipes You Might Like:

If you’ve tried this Simple Saffron Risotto or any other recipe on the blog please let me know how you got on in the comments below, I love hearing from you! You can also FOLLOW ME on FACEBOOKINSTAGRAM and PINTEREST to see more delicious food and what I’m getting up to.

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5 from 5 votes

Simple Saffron Risotto

This Saffron Risotto is one of the simplest risottos you can make but feels extra special and is incredibly comforting. Ready in just 30 minutes this risotto can be served as a hearty main or comforting side dish with stewed meats or fish plus leftovers will never go to waste!
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 374kcal
Author Emily Kemp

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups arborio rice (290g)
  • 2 shallots finely chopped
  • ~ 1 tsp saffron (0.3g)
  • 1/2 cup white wine (125m)
  • 3 1/4 cups chicken stock good quality (800ml)
  • 2 tbsp Parmesan freshly grated
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to season

Instructions

  • Keep the chicken stock warm in a saucepan and get a ladle ready
  • Add olive oil to a large pan/skillet on a low-medium heat then add the chopped shallots. Saute the shallots until translucent but not browned.
  • Add the rice and stir to coat the grains in the oils then add the wine. Simmer for 2 minutes then add 1 ladleful of chicken stock.
  • Let the rice absorb the chicken stock whilst constantly stirring when it’s almost absorbed all of it add another ladle of stock, continue with the same process.
  • When you only have only 2 ladlefuls of stock left add the saffron then continue until all the stock is gone. As you stir the saffron will get deeper in colour. Season with a generous pinch of salt and add the parmesan. Taste for seasoning then serve.

Notes

  • Slowly cook the shallots so they don't burn (it'll affect the flavour of the whole dish) they don't take long!
  • Don't add the saffron too early as it'll start to lose its flavour.
  • You can add more or less saffron to your liking but remember to not add too much as it can be overpowering to most people.
  • The yellow colour will deepen as the risotto cooks so wait a few minutes before adding more if you are looking a deep yellow colour.
  • Use high-quality chicken or vegetable stock, I like to use homemade when possible (store it in the freezer for making dishes like this) or use ready-made quality stock you can buy in tubs or pouches before reaching for cubes.* See more info in the post above.
  • Risotto tends to need a lot more salt than you think so always taste it throughout. Remember that the brand or variety of stock you use will make a difference some have more seasoning than others so always check before adding more.
  • Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for 1-2 days or frozen in suitable containers.

Nutrition

Calories: 374kcal | Carbohydrates: 65g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 2mg | Sodium: 101mg | Potassium: 285mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 20IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 45mg | Iron: 3.8mg
Helpful Info for All Recipes
  • I always use extra virgin olive oil in all of my recipes unless stated otherwise
  • When I use canned or jarred tomatoes of any kind I always use this brand for the best results and flavour
  • All vegetables are medium sized unless stated otherwise
  • All recipes are tested and developed using a fan oven
  • Find out more about how nutrition is calculated here
  • Check out our must have Italian Pantry Staples here
  • You can also find all our Essential Kitchen Tools for Italian Cooking here
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14 Comments

  • Reply
    Jo Thrasher •
    July 18, 2019 at 12:58 pm

    I love how simple and luxurious this looks. Definitely trying this sometime soon!5 stars

  • Reply
    Raia
    July 11, 2019 at 3:32 pm

    My husband loves risotto! This looks delicious and I can’t wait to make it for him. 🙂5 stars

  • Reply
    Jessica
    July 11, 2019 at 3:20 pm

    I love saffron and I can’t wait to try this delicious looking risotto recipe!

  • Reply
    Alina | Cooking Journey Blog
    July 11, 2019 at 2:50 pm

    This is such a hearty and flavorful side dish. I love the color and can imagine the aroma of saffron and shallots. Beautiful!5 stars

  • Reply
    Meghna
    July 11, 2019 at 2:34 pm

    I love the flavor & aroma of saffron and we use it a lot in cooking. This saffron risotto looks so so good, I’m giving it a try this evening as I already have saffron stocked up 🙂

  • Reply
    Julia
    July 11, 2019 at 2:07 pm

    I absolutely love saffron risotto! It’s so addictive, isn’t it? 🙂5 stars

  • Reply
    Angela
    July 11, 2019 at 11:57 am

    Oooh! Saffron may be expensive, but boy is it worth it! I can almost taste this plate of golden deliciousness just looking at your photos! Thank you!5 stars

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