Decadent, delicious and simply stunning! (adapted from “Sunday Suppers at Lucques” by Suzanne Goin)
- 1/4 t saffron threads
- 3 T butter, melted
- 1 qt canned chicken broth
- 1/2 c diced white onion
- 1/4 c diced shallot
- 2 t fresh (or dried) thyme
- 1 dried chile de arbol, chopped
- 1 cup (err on the lighter side) Arborio rice
- 1/4 c white wine
- 2 T parsley, chopped
- 1/4 grated parmesan cheese
- kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
Pour the chicken broth into a pan and set to low heat to warm through slowly melt the 3T of butter. Lightly toast the saffron in a small pan until slightly fragrant and dried out. Put the dried saffron into a mortar and pestle and crush into a power – be sure to brush the dust off the mortar!
Pour the butter into the saffron power and stir it up gently.
Heat a saucepan on the stove with medium heat – add the saffron butter, onion, shallot, chile and thyme – lightly season with salt and pepper
Saute the onion for several minutes until the onion begins to turn translucent. Add the rice and stir and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Add the wine and stir until the wine is absorbed.
Using a baster or a ladle, add about a cup of chicken broth to the pan and start stirring. Reduce heat and keep a slow rhythmic stirring going continuously as the rice absorbs the broth, add more, a 1/2 cup at a time and keep stirring. After about 20 minutes, start tasting the rice for doneness. Keep stirring and adding broth until the rice is nearly done – just the other side of al dente.
Stir in the parmesan cheese and half the parsley. Sprinkle top with remaining parsley as garnish.
This risotto dish is a great side starch for a bold meat. It can also stand as a meal with the addition of some lobster, shrimp or scallops. The secret: drink wine and get into the Zen of stirring!