Saffron Risotto

I was challenged to use photography to create a step-by-step, instructional photo tutorial. Sounds easy right? After I crossed a gazillion things off my potential list of what I should make, many very difficult items, many very different items than those you’re accustomed to seeing here on bell’alimento. I realized that I needed to stick to what you come to bell’alimento for and for what I love to make. I decided on Risotto. Yes, Risotto. Risotto are the recipes that I get the most questions about and the recipes that MANY people have difficulty executing.

It’s a dish that has a reputation of being  testy, tempermental. Pfft ; )…I like to make risottos during my cooking classes to prove that once you “see”  and “feel” how to make it the fears fly right out the window. I’m hoping that these step by step photos will do the same here. My goal is to demystify the dish and make it completely approachable. It’s a definite YES YOU CAN dish and I’m going to SHOW you exactly how…

Today I’ve chosen Risotto alla Milanese {Saffron Risotto}. Luxurious, creamy and easier to make than you think.


The first step is to prepare your mis en place. Which is simply a fancy French term for gathering and preparing all of your ingredients.

Begin by finely chopping the onion.

Into a heavy bottom sauce pan melt 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter over medium heat. Once the butter has melted, add the chopped onions, stir with a wooden spoon or wooden paddle and cook onions until translucent.

Add the rice and stir until rice is well coated. It is important that you stir constantly and that you do not allow the rice or onions to brown. Add the wine and allow wine to evaporate.

Reduce heat to LOW and sprinkle the saffron strands on the rice. Add a ladle of broth and stir to combine. It is important that your broth be warm you do not want to add cold broth to the pan.

Continue to stir constantly. Once the broth has reduced add another ladle. The gradual addition of broth is the KEY to making risotto. Once you can draw a line with your spoon and the mixture doesn’t immediately come together it’s time to add more broth {photo to right} Continue cooking until your rice is cooked through {approximately 30 minutes}

When the risotto is near completion add the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter. Stir to combine. Add the grated Parmigiano Reggiano. Stir and check for seasoning. Add salt if necessary.

Remove the pan from the heat. Cover and allow risotto to rest for a few minutes and to set. You want it to have a creamy but not wet consistency.

All that is left to do is grab a bowl/plate, a spoon and enjoy the fruits of your labor ; ) See totally doable! Not that I didn’t already know you could!




Print This Recipe

Risotto alla Milanese {Saffron Risotto}
What you’ll need:
5 tablespoons unsalted butter – divided
1/2 onion – minced
2 cups arborio rice
1 cup dry white wine
1 large pinch of saffron strands  {.70g}
4-6 cups stock
1/2 cup Parmigiano Reggiano – grated

What to do:
1. Into a heavy bottom saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add onions. Stir to combine and saute until translucent. Add rice and with a wooden spoon or wooden paddle stir constantly to coat the rice with the butter/onion mixture. Add wine and cook until wine has evaporated.

2. Reduce heat to low, sprinkle in the saffron strands and add 1 cup/ladle of broth. Continually stir. Once the broth has reduced add an additional ladle of broth. Continue this process until rice is cooked {approximately 30 minutes}.

3. Approximately 5 minutes before cooking is finished add in remaining 3 tablespoons of butter. Stir to combine. Once combined, add in Parmigiano Reggiano. Stir to combine. Check for seasoning and add salt if necessary. Remove pan from heat, cover and allow to rest so risotto can develop the correct consistency {creamy but not wet}

Buon Appetito!


  1. 1

    Every time I read your blog my dear, I’m blown away by your recipes, photos, and sheer talent. Here’s to you and I in the top 3 🙂 You’ve got my vote!

  2. 2

    Gorgeous pictures! It’s the weirdest thing that I don’t really like risotto even though I love rice (and all other carbs), but this looks dee-lish 🙂

  3. 3

    It’s beautiful, Paula!!! What a great post- you know you’ve got my vote!!

  4. 4

    Paula….great, perfetto, sembra buonissimo, what else can I say,,,will vote for you. :)))

  5. 5
    lisa bailey /

    Great job with the photos. And I know from making your risotto recipe several times (different varieties) that it is fool proof. Woo-hoo!! I’ll be voting tomorrow.

  6. 6

    Great photos Paula as usual !!! Love making risotto definitely a stress relieving experience. Good Luck in round 4 ! Oh and I’m sure Ree would be proud 🙂

  7. 7

    Bellissimo! I love risotto and make it all the time. I think there’s some saffron hiding in my spice cabinet too…now I know what’s for dinner!

  8. 8

    Ever the intimidating dish thanks to the barking of Chef Ramsey on HK… but you made it look easy and beautiful! We will definitely be trying out this recipe. Bravo! You know you have my vote.

  9. 9

    The photos are so vivid I can almost smell the saffron! GREG

  10. 10

    Just made a risotto today very similar to this. A great step-by-step, Paula, well done and hopefully I will be there in round 5 with you cos you sure will be!

  11. 11

    Ree would be proud! 🙂

    That was fantastic post and I’m not just saying that. I honestly feel a lot of bloggers missed the mark on this entry. But you didn’t.

    I’ll be voting for you!!!

  12. 12

    Oh my goodness, my heart is melting along with the butter – this is just mouthwatering! I can smell the risotto from my screen – beautifully photographed. I know we’ll see you in Challenge 5!

  13. 13

    Absolutely a luxurious Risotto with Saffron!

  14. 14

    One of my favorite risotto dishes. Beautiful job on the step-by-step. Looks delicious! Can’t wait to see what you do in next round! Auguri!

  15. 15

    I especially like the saffron pics and the golden result from its use.

  16. 16

    Lovely, love-uh-ly! Beautiful photos. I don’t know how you do it. I never seem to have enough hands to cook and take photos at the same time (forget the fact that I don’t have enough light!). And I’m so glad that you posted this recipe! I have extra saffron left over from my Moroccan entry that I didn’t know what to do with. I love risotto, so this is perfect.

  17. 17
    Gwen /

    Very nicely done!

  18. 18

    Great photos! Saffron come alive.
    One doesn’t need to read the recipe, pictures tell it perfectly.

  19. 19

    WOw, this always has been an intimidatong dish to me but you made it seem super easy! Thanks Paula. GOod luck making it to the next round!

  20. 20

    Great post Paula, your photography is stunning!!!

  21. 21

    Wonderful pictures and very descriptive.
    You’ve to my vote!

  22. 22

    who is this Ree you speak of?! 🙂 totally kidding…but that risotto?! oh my word…i need to buck up and spend the cash for saffron!

  23. 23

    delicious looking risotto! love the addition of saffron. great photos – best of luck!

  24. 24
    Judy B. - Texas /

    SUPER – great and all the positive adjectives – beautiful photos – you just got my vote!

  25. 25

    Amazing job! I love it!

  26. 26

    Ree who?? Just kidding. Thanks for this gorgeous risotto step by step – of course you have my vote 🙂

  27. 27

    Your pictures are magazine worthy! Love the composition on some of these -stunning -will vote!

  28. 28

    Very lovely…The photos are wonderful 🙂

  29. 29

    OMG that looks amazing.

  30. 30

    Gorgeous color! The photos are simply stunning. I’ll squirrel this recipe away.

  31. 31

    That’s a delicious well photographed saffron risotto

  32. 32

    amazing photos, lovely food, sooo clear and crisp..the photos, I am in awe 🙂

  33. 33

    Your photographs of the saffron and arborio are just lovely. Well done!! Wonderful picture perfect post!! Best of luck in PFB!

  34. 34

    Gorgeous photos! Voted for you.

  35. 35

    I love risotto and it is one of my favourite things to make – especially making asparagus risotto since that is in season here right now. Your instructions and pictures are great – gets my vote 🙂

  36. 36

    Great photos and instructions. You make the whole thing looks easy–which isn’t easy to do! 😉

  37. 37

    You get my vote, and on my list of things to make soon!


  38. 38

    Just a lovely lovely colour

  39. 39

    Every time your lens captures those saffron threads my heart does a little zing. The objective was photo tutorial and you really went for it, whereas i can’t help but wax overly verbose. There’s a reason why you’re Bella Ninja- you are the creme de la creme.

  40. 40

    Voted for you. Good luck for challenge 4!

  41. 41

    Lovely, great choice for the challenge. Looks positively delicious! Good luck, happy to give my vote!

  42. 42

    Looks delicious – I sent a little red heart your way – Good luck!

  43. 43

    Gorgeous Photos! I adore risotto. My fav is bacon + mushroom. YUM.

  44. 44

    Lovely! Such gorgeous pictures….if you ever offer a class in food photography, I’d gladly take it…Cheers! Just voted 🙂 🙂

  45. 45

    yummy – my alltime favourite ist beetroot risotto – and not just because it’s pink!

  46. 46

    Thanks for the tutorial…my risotto is always hit or miss. And I love saffron, so I think this will be my next try!

  47. 47

    Gorgeous photos. I love the saffron threads! You got my vote.

  48. 48

    Such a beautiful post with gorgeous pictures! And great choice of topic too – it’s so nice to show the various stages of risotto making. I love that just a pinch of saffron turns the whole pot of risotto such a lovely golden color. Good luck this round!

  49. 49

    Excellent post – you got my vote for this! Good luck 🙂 Feel free to hop over to leave a comment 🙂

    Have a wonderful day!
    jen @

  50. 50

    Awesome post, ninja! Finally, I can conquer my fear of mushy risotto. I also heart the screen time you give to the microplane. Sexy.


  51. 51

    this looks amazing!

    can’t wait to meet you in CA tomorrow! 🙂

  52. 52

    I’m so glad you shared this for challenge #4 Paula! This is perfect and will help me to making my own risotto! Best wishes amiga! Besitos!



  53. 53

    Beeyootiful! If I didn’t get risotto-making already, I would after this tutorial 🙂

  54. 54

    I could stare at photos of this all day. Really, I could. Risotto is one of those recipes that is perfect for a photo tutorial, it shows how easy it is to make (as long as you pay attention). Good luck this week, you’ve got a vote of mine.

    Lick My Spoon

  55. 55

    Ok, I definitely have to make this now. I have some saffron and have been looking for ways to use it! Great tutorial, and lovely photos, good luck with this round, just voted!

  56. 56

    Voted! Your risotto looks gorgeous, the color is lovely and I’m jealous of all of that saffron…

  57. 57

    Great tuts & lovely photos. I’ve added my vote for your blog 🙂

  58. 58

    Oh my God this risotto looks creamy and delicious! What a great tutorial, as well! Sending my vote your way for sure!

  59. 59

    This looks sooo good! I’ll have to make this over the weekend. The pictures are fantastic.

  60. 60

    Paula! I love risotto but I never thought to finish it with parmigiano E burro! I bet it adds a LOT of creaminess.. I am going to try that next time!

    • 60.1

      I jut remembered I always add a touch of cream at the end.. which do you think would be better? Sticking with the cream or doing butter instead?!

  61. 61
    Mohannad /

    Thanks for this nice recipe.
    I want to know what is broth? you mean stock? If yes, is it chicken stock or vegetable stock?

    Thanks, and waiting you answer.

  62. 62

    A friend of mine just made this in my Thermomix last week. Not the exact recipe – but the title. Love your step-by-steps because your photography is GENIUS. Not only can you cook, but you can take photos like a pro. And, I want to taste this. I will try to translate this recipe to my Thermomix, though usually risotto is best made by hand. However, the Thermomix stirs non-stop.
    Glad We have “met!”
    Good luck on this challenge. I cannot imagine anyone doing better!
    Looking forward to your pom posts! I tried to get into your blog yesterday and kept receiving an error message – so glad you are back on track today. Or I am!

  63. 63

    Love saffron, love risotto…never had it togather but can’t wait to try it!


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