Not familiar with how to use saffron? No problem! Here are some basic instructions and an easy recipe for Saffron Risotto to start with.
How to prepare saffron for use in recipes:
* you can crumble the saffron in a mortar and pestle or by giving it a few pinches with your fingers.
Saffron Risotto or Risotto a la Milanese
This recipe comes from Milk Street (see below for links to their show and magazine) whose culinary team has discovered that it doesn't take 45 minutes standing at the stove and stirring to make creamy, perfect risotto. With this recipe, risotto can be a middle-of-the-week dish! Give it a try (with our saffron of course) and let us know what you think.
Cooking time: 25 minutes (!)
3 1/2 cups vegetable broth (see recipe)
1 teaspoon saffron threads*
6 tablespoons (¾ stick) salted butter, cut into 1-tablespoon pieces, divided
1 cup carnaroli or Arborio rice
1 ounce Parmesan cheese, finely grated (½ cup)
4 teaspoons white balsamic vinegar
- In a small saucepan over medium, bring the broth, covered, to a simmer. Reduce to low to keep warm. In a small bowl or measuring cup, combine ½ cup of the hot broth and the saffron. Set aside.
- In a large saucepan over medium-high, melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the rice and cook, stirring constantly, until translucent at the edges, 1 to 2 minutes. Add 2½ cups of the remaining hot broth and bring to a boil, then reduce to medium and cook, stirring frequently and briskly, until the grains are almost tender but still quite firm at the core (it will be quite soupy), 8 to 10 minutes; adjust the heat as needed to maintain a vigorous simmer.
- Add the saffron broth and cook, stirring frequently and briskly, until the rice is just shy of al dente but still soupy, 3 to 5 minutes. If the rice is thick and dry but the grains are still too firm, add the remaining hot broth in ¼-cup increments and continue to cook, stirring, until the rice is just shy of al dente.
- Off heat, stir in the Parmesan, ½ teaspoon salt and the remaining 4 tablespoons butter, 1 piece at a time. Taste and season with salt, then stir in the vinegar. Serve immediately.
Don't cook the rice to the ideal al dente texture before removing the pan from the burner. The grains will continue to cook with residual heat as the cheese and butter are stirred in.
Easy Vegetable Broth
Yields: 1 QUART
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
This simple vegetable broth can be made in about 30 minutes. Use immediately after straining or cool to room temperature, cover and refrigerate for up to five days.
Ingredients:2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
2 large celery stalks, chopped
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 medium tomato, roughly chopped
1 large garlic clove, smashed and peeled
- In a large saucepan over high, combine all ingredients with 5 cups water and bring to a boil. Partially cover, then reduce to medium and cook for 20 minutes, adjusting the heat to maintain a lively simmer.
- Pour the broth through a fine mesh stainer into a large bowl; discard the solids. You should have about 1 quart of broth.
Don't simmer the broth uncovered. Partially covering the pan prevents excessive evaporation, but allows for some concentration of flavors.
These Milk Street recipes can be found here:
FAKE FOOD: THE BILLION DOLLAR BUSINESS OF FOOD FRAUD
WHAT WE COOK WITH HERE AT MILK STREET
IN RISOTTO ALLA MILANESE, SPEED IS A KEY INGREDIENT