saffron risotto italian food blog

Italian Food and Flavours

Saffron Risotto
Serves 4
Yesterday I took a trip to a village at the foot of the wonderful Sibillini Mountain national park to meet a delightful Dutch family that for a few years now has produced that most delicate, and expensive of spices, saffron. They produce a fine completely natural product of great quality and value. Their website is under construction but you can check their progress at
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  1. saffron 2 pistils per person
  2. stick of celery
  3. 2 onions
  4. 1 carrot
  5. bunch of parsley
  6. 1 medium potato
  7. risotto rice handful per person
  8. olive oil
  9. glass white wine
  10. knob of butter
  11. mild cheese - mild pecorino - to taste
  1. Allow the saffron to infuse for 24 hours in a cup of warm water, about two pistils per person is sufficient. Prepare a good vegetable broth by boiling the chopped celery, one of the onions coarsly chopped, the chopped carrot, half the parsley and the chopped potato. Boil for about an hour in a good sized pan with 2 ls of water, salt to taste. stir often.
  2. Once you have prepared the broth begin the preparation of the risotto.
  3. Fry the other finely chopped onion in olive oil and when it become translucent add a handful of rice for each person. mix with the onion until well glazed with the oil, about 2 to 3 minutes, then deglaze with the white wine, now begin to add the broth a ladleful at a time, wait until the broth has been absorbed by the rice before adding the next, don't leave the pan! you have to stir constantly. At the end of cooking, when the rice is cooked but still slightly al dente - with a little bite - pour in the saffron water turn up the heat to evaporate the excess water add a piece of butter, the rest of the parsley, finely chopped and grated mild cheese to taste. Take off the heat and leave to rest and absorb the flavour of the saffron for five minutes, give a final stir and serve.
Cooking Holidays Italy

Cauliflower risotto Risotto, ai Cavolfiore Romanesco

Italian Food and Flavours

Cauliflower risotto, ai Cavolfiore Romanesco

A  cauliflower risotto is the ultimate comfort food on a winter’s day.


The pointy, bright green Romanesco cauliflower is ready to crop from the orto now and is filling the shelves of  greengrocers all over Le Marche. It is much tastier than the white cauliflower and a typical Le Marche style of preparing it is to cover the florets in a tempora type batter and deep frying before adding to an antipasti platter. Making a risotto with it sounds a little odd but really makes the most of this vegetable. I use grated mature Pecorino cheese from Cossignano market in the risotto as it has a lovely rich taste. So here is my Le Marche version of Cauliflower Cheese!


400g risotto rice

1 Romanesco cauliflower

a large onion, few sticks of celery and 2 cloves garlic

1.5 litres of vegetable stock

2 tbs olive oil

2 wine glasses of white wine

100g freshly grated Pecorino or Parmezan  cheese

one handful of bread

small jar of anchovies


Chop the cauliflower, parting the florets from the stalk. Place the florets in the hot stock. Finely chop the stalk, onion, garlic and celery and with the olive oil make a soffrito (gently fry for 15 minutes or so)

Then turn up the heat and add the rice for a minute, then the wine. Stir continuously until the alcohol evaporates.

Add the stock a little at a time with the cauliflower florets and stir, stir, stir! It normally takes me at least 20 minutes until all the stock and cauliflower is incorporated and then taste the rice to see if it is cooked, but still al dente.

Take the pan off the heat and add the cheese and a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, stir and leave for 2 minutes before serving. Add salt and pepper to taste.

The bread and anchovies are blitzed, then fried to present as a crunchy topping for the risotto.

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