Norfolk Saffron Risotto

We stock Norfolk Saffron, grown by Sally Francis, in The Foodie Bugle Shop, but until I contacted Sally I had no idea you could grow saffron in East Anglia, nor that it has grown there historically.

A tiny amount goes a long, long way – I just use a pinch to make a golden Milanese risotto to serve with Osso Buco or as a supper party starter.

I mix the saffron threads into a hot vegetable stock, and leave it to infuse while I soften the vegetables. The colour is a rich, golden ochre and the flavour unmistakenly grassy and spicy.

Norfolk Saffron Risotto Recipe

Ingredients to serve 2 people

1 litre vegetable stock

1 pinch Norfolk Saffron threads

50g butter, plus 20g extra

1 tbsp light olive oil

100g shallots, peeled and finely chopped

2 stalks of celery and their leaves, finely chopped

Sea salt and pepper, to taste

250g Carnaroli rice

150ml dry white wine, at room temperature

6 tbsps grated Parmiggiano Reggiano cheese, plus extra to serve


Heat the stock in a saucepan till nearly boiling, take off the heat, crumble the saffron threads with your fingers into the stock, stir well and keep it warm.

Melt the 50g of butter and 1 tbsp of olive oil in a heavy-based saucepan over a low heat, add the chopped shallots and celery, sea salt and pepper and cook for a few minutes, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon. Add just a little of the stock to help create steam, which helps to soften the vegetables.

When the vegetables are soft, add the rice and keep stirring for a minute or so, then turn up the heat and add the wine. The ethanol in the alcohol will evaporate. Keep stirring.

Ladle in some of the warm saffron stock, allowing each ladleful to be absorbed by the rice as you stir. Stir and ladle the stock into the rice mixture until the rice is cooked but still has a slight bite to it {al dente}. This should take about 20 minutes.

Turn off the heat and beat in the remaining butter and the grated Parmiggiano Reggiano. Taste and add extra seasoning if needed.

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