Golden Risotto for a Golden Future

While the new year is yet being celebrated, attention to gaining good fortune is still on the menu. 

In parts of northern Italy, risotto is considered a dish of buona fortuna, good fortune, and in this risotto, saffron, the feathery stigma collected from crocus, also enriches it with a rich golden hue.

An adapted recipe of the famous Risotto Milanese from the town of Milan, where the dish is thought to have originated, this golden risotto is a delicious and exotic addition to any menu. It can be served as a first course or as a main entrée. 

“Risotto should be served all’onda, like a wave, which means that it should still flow a little when served on a plate.

To round out the meal, prepare a bright green vegetable. Try Green Beans with Mushrooms and Shallots for a hearty side dish.

Golden Risotto 

  • 4 cups vegetable broth, divided use
  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
  • 1/3 cup diced yellow onion
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided use
  • 1 cup arborio or carnaroli rice
  • 1/3 cup white wine, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley, divided use
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (optional)

Over low heat, bring the 4 cups of broth to a low simmer. Ladle out one cup of broth into a cup, and rub the saffron threads together, breaking them down into fine pieces, into the warm broth. Set aside and keep warm. Allowing the saffron to steep in this way helps to intensify its unique flavor. Keep the remaining 3 cups of broth simmering over low heat.

In a separate, thick-bottomed pan, heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until it begins to turn translucent. Add the rice, stirring until the rice is thoroughly coated, and it also begins to turn translucent approximately 5-8 minutes. Add the white wine, and continue stirring. Once the wine has evaporated, start adding the simmering broth, one ladle at a time, stirring and allowing the liquid to be absorbed by the rice before adding more broth. Continue stirring until the rice absorbs the broth, then add another ladle of broth, and so on. This process will take about 20–22 minutes, adding broth and stirring until the rice is done. During the last 5 minutes, add the saffron-flavored broth back into the simmering vegetable broth and use this mixture to finish the risotto. Once the rice reaches the stage of doneness you prefer, remove it from the heat, cover, and allow the risotto to sit for several minutes.

Before serving, stir in 1/3 cup of the chopped parsley and, if desired, the grated Parmigiano. Plate and drizzle olive oil over each serving, and garnish with chopped parsley. 

Green Beans, Mushrooms, and Shallots

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3/4 pound fresh green beans, cleaned, stems removed
  • 2 portabella mushrooms, stems and gill removed, sliced
  • 4–5 shallots, thinly sliced lengthwise
  • salt and pepper to taste

Heat olive oil in a pan over medium-high. Add the green beans and sear for approximately 3 minutes. Add 3–4 tablespoons of water, cover, and reduce heat to simmer and cook for about 5 additional minutes, or until the beans are just starting to turn bright green. Remove lid, add mushrooms and shallots, and continue cooking until the mushrooms and green beans are done. Add salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste.