Herb and saffron risotto

    35 min

    This fragrant, fresh-tasting risotto can be served either as a starter or as a side dish. It should be eaten as soon as it is cooked – if it is left to stand, the starch will begin to set, resulting in a heavy texture. Lemon zest and juice and fresh herbs stirred in at the end add a wonderful burst of flavour.

    3 people made this

    Serves: 6 

    • 15 g (½ oz) butter
    • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 small onion, chopped
    • 340 g (12 oz) risotto rice
    • 150 ml (5 fl oz) dry white wine
    • small pinch of saffron strands
    • 1.5 litres (2¾ pints) hot vegetable stock
    • grated zest of 1 lemon
    • 2 tbsp lemon juice
    • 2 tbsp chopped fresh chives
    • 2 tbsp chopped parsley
    • salt and pepper
    • To serve
    • 15 g (½ oz) Parmesan cheese
    • snipped fresh chives

    Prep:10min  ›  Cook:25min  ›  Ready in:35min 

    1. Heat the butter and oil in a large saucepan, add the onion and cook gently for 4–5 minutes or until softened, stirring from time to time.
    2. Add the rice and cook for 1 minute, stirring to coat all the grains with the butter and oil. Stir in the wine and boil until it has almost all evaporated.
    3. Stir the saffron into the hot stock. Add a ladleful of the stock to the pan and bubble gently until it has almost all been absorbed, stirring frequently. Continue adding the stock a ladleful at a time, letting each be almost all absorbed before adding the next, and stirring frequently. Total cooking time will be 15–20 minutes. The risotto is ready when the rice is tender but the grains are still whole and firm, and the overall texture is moist and creamy.
    4. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the lemon zest and juice, chives and parsley. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
    5. Using a vegetable peeler, take thin shavings from the Parmesan and scatter them over the risotto together with the chives. Serve immediately.

    Parmesan cheese

    Parmesan cheese is not truly vegetarian, as it contains animal rennet. To make this dish 100% vegetarian, omit the cheese or find a suitable vegetarian substitute made without animal rennet. In supermarkets look for the 'parmesan style hard cheeses' which are suitable for vegetarians.

    Some more ideas

    Stir 100 g (3½ oz) lightly cooked asparagus tips or thawed frozen peas into the risotto towards the end of cooking. * To make an artichoke risotto, omit the onion and cook the rice as in the main recipe, adding 2 tbsp lemon juice with the wine. A few minutes before the end of cooking, stir in 1 jar or can of artichoke hearts in water, about 340 g, drained. Add mint instead of parsley, and sprinkle with 30 g (1 oz) chopped walnuts instead of the Parmesan shavings.

    Plus points

    Vitamin loss from rice is reduced when it is cooked by the absorption method, as in making a risotto – the vitamins remain in the liquid, which is then absorbed into the dish. * Parmesan cheese is a very hard cheese made from unpasteurised skimmed cow's milk. It has a high fat content but, as it also has a strong, full taste, only a small amount is needed to add lots of flavour.

    Each serving provides

    niacin, copper, zinc

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    Reviews in English (1)


    lovly dish didnt have any chives so i used spring onions but tasted good anyway  -  02 Apr 2012