Saffron Risotto

Saffron Risotto


(Serves 4 to 6)

  • 6 cups homemade or low-sodium chicken stock or broth
  • ½ teaspoon roughly chopped saffron threads
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, very finely chopped
  • 2 cups Arborio or Carnaroli rice
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus extra for serving
  • Edible gold leaf (see below)
  • Very tender small sprigs of fresh lemon thyme, preferably with flowers, for garnish.


  • Bring the stock to a simmer in a saucepan. Partially cover and keep warm. Soak the saffron threads in 1 cup of warm stock for 20 minutes.
  • Combine 1 tablespoon of the butter, the olive oil, and the onion in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat.
  • Cook, stirring for about 5 minutes, until the onion is translucent. Add the rice, and stir to coat each grain with oil and butter.
  • Add the wine and simmer until completely evaporated. Add ½ cup of hot stock, and continue stirring until almost all of the liquid has been absorbed into the rice.
  • Continue adding the stock, ½ cup at a time, stirring until it is absorbed. Add the saffron-infused stock after about 10 minutes and cook, stirring for 8 or 9 minutes more; the rice should be firm to the bite and the mixture creamy.
  • Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, salt, plenty of pepper, and ½ cup of the Parmigiano.
  • Transfer to serving dishes, lay gold leaf in the center, garnish with the thyme, and serve with the grated Parmigiano on the side.



Donatella Arpaia

Donatella Arpaia is a chef, restaurateur, entrepreneur, and mother. She has built an empire of successful restaurants drawing on the skills, passion, methods, and love for food she learned from her family.