Creamy Saffron Risotto
- TOTAL TIME: 40 MIN
- SERVINGS: 10
Risotto alla milanese, the traditional accompaniment to osso buco, is flavored with saffron, which is the world's most expensive spice. The deep-red filaments are the dried stigmas of a variety of crocus and they're harvested exclusively by hand. Each crocus has three stigmas and it takes more than 14,000 to make one ounce of saffron.
- 2 1/2 quarts light chicken stock or low-sodium broth
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 medium onion, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
- 3 1/4 cups arborio rice (1 pound 10 ounces)
- 1 1/2 cups dry white wine
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- In a large saucepan, bring the chicken broth to a boil over high heat. Cover and keep hot over low heat.
- In a heavy 6-quart pot or casserole, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over moderate heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 6 minutes. Crumble in the saffron threads and cook for 1 minute, stirring. Add the rice and stir to coat thoroughly with butter, about 2 minutes. Add the wine and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until evaporated. Add enough hot stock to cover the rice (about 1 1/2 cups) and bring to a boil, stirring. Reduce the heat to moderate. Cook, stirring the rice constantly, until the stock has been absorbed. Continue adding the stock, 1 1/2 cups at a time, and stirring until it is absorbed before adding more; the risotto is done when the rice is just tender and the liquid is thick, about 25 minutes total.
- Remove the risotto from the heat and stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and the cheese. Season the risotto with salt and pepper and serve.
This hearty, fragrant risotto pairs well with a crisp, dry white like a Sardinian Vermentino.