Saffron is a precious spice. Still, nowadays, the pistils are mainly hand-picked from the centre of wonderful purple flowers. Crops can be found in the Middle East, southern Europe and even in some parts of central and northern Europe, such as Switzerland, Germany and Holland.
Risotto with saffron is a well-known and loved dish, typically prepared in northern Italy. In this recipe, the addition of courgettes enriches its flavour and its nutritional value. White wine, a classic when preparing risottos, seems to be missing among the ingredients, but this recipe proposes a lighter version of risotto for every day; for special occasions, after toasting the rice, deglaze the pan with good quality white wine.
For 4 people, preparation and cooking time 30-35 minutes.
- 1 onion
- 1 carrot
- 1 stalk of celery
- 1 tsp saffron pistils / soluble saffron
- 280g risotto rice
- 2 medium courgettes
- 30g butter
- Salt and pepper
- Parmigiano cheese
1. Put the saffron pistils in a small bowl and submerge it with hot water- if you use soluble saffron, this step will not be necessary. Simply add the saffron when risotto is cooked. Dice the white onion and prepare the pot with the vegetables for the broth: carrot, celery, onion and parsley.
2. In a large pot, cook the onion in very little oil or butter. In the meantime, bring the broth to boil, grate the courgettes, season them with salt and pepper, and set aside.
3. Once the onion is well cooked, add the rice, a pinch of salt and toast it for a few minutes. Then start adding the broth, filtering it, whilst stirring the risotto that will slowly cook, add broth until the risotto absorbs it.
4. At the end of cooking, about 20 minutes, with the heat off, add the saffron pistils with their water. Complete the recipe with grated zucchini, a knob of butter and plenty of Parmigiano. Season with salt and pepper and serve hot.
– To cook the risotto, it will take you between 20 and 25 minutes. The broth must always be boiling. Otherwise, these cooking times could be considerably different.
– Saffron is a very delicate spice, which should not be cooked. It is good to add it after cooking to avoid too high temperatures.
– When completing the risotto with cheese and butter, make sure you leave some broth aside, which could be very useful if you notice that the risotto has become too thick.