main course

Saffron Rice

Risotto all Milanese

Kumera, Leek, Cumin, Saffron & Cauliflower Soup 


Saffron Rice
Infuse (crush and soak) a pinch of saffron threads (about 8-10 threads) in 1 Tblsp of warm water for 15-20 mins.  Add infusion to rest of water used for cooking rice and cook as normal.


Risotto alla Milanese

Recipe Written by itchefs    -  The GVCI, Virtual Group of Italian Chefs is currently a network of Italian cuisine related professionals, mainly chefs, working outside Italy.  For more & step by step video of how to make Risotto alla Milanese go to

(Serves 4)


300 gm rice, Vialone or Carnaroli (this is not a brand but a kind of rice)
100 gm butter (use only the best quality, unsalted and make sure it is cold from the fridge not half melted and greasy)
150 ml dry white wine (at room temperature not cold)
1 lt broth (made from beef or beef and chicken or veal, keep it light in color but full in flavour, salt sparingly)
10-12 saffron threads
50gm white onion, chopped very fine
50gm grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padano (please stop calling everything parmesan)
(Bone marrow. You can skip this ingredient. Alternatively you may pan roast 20 pieces of 1cm thick slices of it and place them on top of your risotto just before serving it)


  1. Infuse (crush & soak) the saffron in a small amount of the warmed broth/stock.
  2. Slowly pan-fry at very low heat the chopped onion until translucent, making sure the onion does not gets dark, and place it a side.
  3. Add 50gm of the butter to the saucepan, making sure it is not too hot otherwise the butter will burn, add the rice and toast it at medium heat and always keep stirring with the wooden spoon.
  4. When the rice is well toasted, add the onion previously cooked, stir well and add the wine, simmer and keep mixing until the wine has evaporated.
  5. Now start the cooking by adding ladle by ladle the broth to about 1cm over level of rice level and keep mixing. Add the saffron threads. 
  6. Continue this exercise until the rice is al dente and remove the saucepan form the heat
  7. The rice will be of a runny consistency (all`onda) and ready for the "mantecatura". This operation will give the risotto a creamy but still light consistency, so add the remaining butter and the freshly grated cheese and stir well until the butter is all melted and the cheese is incorporated into the risotto; if your broth is perfect in flavour you will not need to adjust the salt, so serve the rice on a hot flat plate. In Italy we eat risotto with a fork but in some area of the world you may want to add a spoon on the table mis-en-place

Kumera, leek, cumin, saffron and cauliflower soup (Peter Gordon)

Serves 4-6

¼ cauliflower

60g butter

7 tbs extra-virgin olive oil

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 medium leek, sliced and well rinsed

3 garlic cloves, peeled

1 large sweet potato (about 400g), peeled and cut into chunks

1 bay leaf, torn in half

2 pinches of saffron

1.2 litres vegetable stock

1 large slice of stale bread, crusts removed and bread cut into cubes

chopped chives for garnish

Remove the thick stalks from the cauliflower and chop the florets into pieces. Heat a large pot, add half the butter and let it cook to a light nut-brown. Add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, then add the cauliflower and cook over a moderate-to-high heat to caramelise it, stirring often. Tip the cauliflower into a bowl and wipe out the pot. Return the pot to the heat, add the remaining butter with the cumin and again cook the butter to nut-brown. Add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, then add the leek and two of the garlic cloves, which you have roughly chopped, and sauté until the leek has wilted.

Add the sweet potato, bay leaf, saffron and vegetable stock, and bring to the boil. Turn down to a rapid simmer and cook until the potato is tender, then adjust the seasoning.

While the soup is cooking, make the croutons: smash the remaining garlic clove with the side of a large knife and place in a small pan with the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Place over a medium heat, add the cubed bread and cook until the bread turns golden, stirring constantly to prevent it and the garlic from burning. Once they are ready, tip the croutons and oil into a bowl, discarding the cooked garlic.

To serve, ladle the soup into bowls, spoon some cauliflower on top, then scatter with the croutons, together with the oil in which they were cooked and some chives.


Please click on the following to discover more inspirational main couse or other delicious saffron dishes.  Or please return to our main recipe page for details on how to get the best from your saffron.