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Saffron and pancetta risotto recipe

Saffron and pancetta risotto recipe

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  • Recipes
  • Dish type
  • Main course
  • Risotto

Fragrant, flavourful saffron is the perfect ingredient for a simple, yet tasty risotto. You can prepare this recipe in no time using a pressure cooker, or choose to make it the traditional way in a regular saucepan.

3 people made this

IngredientsServes: 3

  • 650ml vegetable stock if using pressure cooker, 1L for regular pan
  • 1 pinch saffron threads
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, finely sliced
  • 300g Arborio rice
  • 120ml white wine
  • 50g pancetta, cubed
  • 30g butter
  • 50g grated Parmesan cheese

MethodPrep:10min ›Cook:10min ›Ready in:20min

  1. Prepare or warm up the vegetable stock. Keep it warm over low heat.
  2. Soak saffron threads in 50ml hot water.
  3. Heat a frying pan over medium high heat and cook the pancetta until golden brown and crisp. Set aside.
  4. If using a pressure cooker:

  5. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a the pressure cooker and cook the onion until softened. Add the rice and toast for a few minutes, until the it becomes translucent and has absorbed the oil. Turn up the heat, pour in 120ml wine and simmer till the alcohol had evaporated and the wine is mostly absorbed by the rice.
  6. Pour saffron and vegetable stock into the pressure cooker; stir and close with the lid. Increase heat to high. When the cooker whistles, decrease heat to low and cook exactly 4 minutes.
  7. Remove cooker from heat and release pressure. Remove the lid and stir in the pancetta, butter and grated Parmesan. Let stand 2 to 3 minutes so that the rice expands and absorbs the remaining stock. Serve straightaway with an additional sprinkle of grated Parmesan.
  8. If using a regular pan:

  9. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a saucepan or saute pan and cook the onion until softened. Turn up the heat, pour in 120ml wine and simmer till the alcohol had evaporated and the wine is mostly absorbed by the rice.
  10. Once the wine has been absorbed, reduce heat to medium and begin to add 1L of vegetable stock, a ladleful at a time, stirring after each addition and adding the next one only when the first one is fully absorbed. The rice will take about 18 to 20 minutes to cook fully. Add the saffron halfway through cooking.
  11. Once the rice is fully cooked, stir in the pancetta, butter and grated Parmesan. Remove from heat and let stand 2 to 3 minutes. Serve straightaway with an additional sprinkle of grated Parmesan.

Cooking risotto in pressure cooker

Cooking risotto in a pressure cooker is ridiculously convenient. But it requires almost perfection in timing and quantities: The stock has to be a tiny bit more than twice the weight of the rice. For instance, if the rice is 100g, the stock will always be 100-125ml at most. Also, the cooking time after the first whistle needs to not exceed the 4 minutes sharp, so use a timer. Longer cooking will result in overcooked rice. When you open the cooker, if the rice tastes a bit raw and there's still stock in the cooker, don't worry: It will keep cooking during resting time and absorb any remaining stock, which is very important in preparing risotto. Don't skip this step!


Instead of saffron threads, you can use a sachet of saffron powder. These sachets typically weigh around .100 to .125g

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(10)

Reviews in English (6)

by Buckwheat Queen

I’ve always been skeptical of cooking risotto in a pressure cooker. We make risotto-the traditional way- at least three times a week. Making it in a pressure cooker just scared me. After seeing this in the Jan 2018 magazine, I decided to give it a try. It really works. I added a half cup more broth than written and it was a bit watery, but I cooked it down a bit (about 45 seconds) before adding the cheese. The consistency was perfect. The rice was not mushy. This is a recipe to trust. I will use it again, definitely. Grazie, Miche!-21 Jan 2018

by alisa d

I'm from a family of Northern Italians. We've made Risotto Milanese for generations. So, I decided to give this recipe a try for a dinner with my Grandmother, Mother and Brother. I used it as a side dish. Everyone was amazed and astonished with the ease and speed of the pressure cooker version. I followed the recipe to the letter. Try this if you are a risotto fan. It is very authentic and delicious. Don't make this risotto or the regular stove top version in advance. After sitting it becomes a starchy mess.-27 Jan 2019

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Awesome recipe . goes well is wood plank salmon!

Great recipe. Made as written. I did add some peas. First time I made a risotto. Good thing I always have home made chicken stock in freezer!

I love the fact that this is such a simple recipe and yet it could be found on a restaurant menu. The key is to use genuine saffron but honestly not many people know how to identify genuine saffron. This video explains it beautifully Real saffron will make all the difference to a dish like this.

This is a great recipe! The dish is full of flavor. I used an organic Moroccan saffron I purchased from Amazon, which enhanced the flavor of the dish. If you are interested, you can check it out here: Thanks! Keep these great recipes coming!

I've made several risottos, and this is a very basic one. The instructions are very good, follow them exactly (including the bit at the end about turning the heat off and covering the pan). I really wanted some fresh herbs in this, the flavor was lacking something and I think a little bit of something green would help.

No idea why anyone had any trouble making this dish or why it didn't turn out well. It was delicious. Takes a bit of time (over an hour), but what risotto doesn't?

Don't know what went wrong, I followed this recipe exactly as written and it came out horrible. Threw it all away.

I made this a vegetarian dish by sub-ing veggie stock for chicken stock. I also used a leftover riesling for the white wine as that was what we had in the fridge. The rest I followed to a tee. The outcome was. pretty good. Definitely worth a try.

I added sauteed apricots, NZ Sauvignon Blanc and low sodium chicken stock. I find that it is always wise to lay low on the salt- even water is better than high sodium chicken stock. Let the whole mixture cook slowly and keep adding more liquid than you ever thought you would need. Another good addition is a pinch of dried or fresh thyme.

Woah, serious echo in here! LOL.

Echoing other reviewers, this is a delicious risotto -- as long as a generous pinch of saffron and a delicious dry white wine are involved. Refreshingly light. This will be my new go-to risotto, with plenty of add-in possibilities (peas, asparagus, prosciutto, roasted cauliflower, etc.).

I also use a nice olive oil in place of the vegetable oil, and I agree that the wine you use matters. Choose wisely. If you feel that the saffron is a throwaway ingredient, your idea of a large pinch is somewhere south of mine. Be generous with it and you will be rewarded but, no, turmeric isn't an acceptable replacement. Perhaps one's assessment of this dish is a subjective call, but I think it's both subtle and rich, like a cashmere sweater. Great comfort food, especially for a cold and/or rainy day.

I thought this was excellent. I used olive oil instead of vegetable oil and manchego cheese instead of parm and it turned out fantastic. I also used amazing homemade stock, so I think that enhanced the flavor as well.

I'm surprised there aren't better reviews for this recipe - I thought it was perfect. I followed everything to a T - including the saffron. I didn't add bay leaf, and didn't feel I needed to. It takes a while, I think waiting for the rice to absorb the stock is an important component but well, well worth it. I didn't both using great parmesan, just regular grated cheese and low fat butter with vegetable stock. Thought it was absolutely fantastic, just the right combo of cheesy and warm and comfort, without all the calories. Served with Ciopinno Style Crab Soup (also from this site) and would have added a vegetable if I had more time, but it was raining outside and this as a combo seemed perfect even without a little green on the side. I definitely wouldn't use this as a main dish, it compliments another dish better and may be too rich to stand on its own.

Turmeric is NO replacement for saffron, which imparts a very singular flavor in addition to the golden color.

It was good. Seemed to be missing something. I used turmeric instead of saffron. I couldn't bear spending $25 for such a small amount. Any suggestions as how I might add more flavor w/o using salt? Served steamed broccoli on the side.

This was recipe was fairly good, however there are better. If I were to use this recipe again I would double it, as it was not nearly enough for 4 people.

The final flavor of this dish heavily depends on what wine you add, so choose well. Saffron should be an element of the flavor if it seemed like a wasted ingredient, try making the "large pinch" a little larger next time. This is certainly a make-it-again recipe.

This was just "okay". I've made less expensive and better risotto. I followed this recipe to the letter and found it too salty and lacking. I will not make this again. I have a dozen other risotto recipes that are far better - the saffron didn't make any difference to this a wasted ingredient.

This recipe is very good. I don't know how you can use a bay leaf if you're making real risotto and not dumping all the liquid in at once. Too much wine and cheese? Please. Perfect low cal side.

This recipe is OK. As written asks for too much white wine and cheese. Watch for too many extreme flavors. Has potential.

I just made this for my husband and me, and there was tons. I'm not sure why the NJ cook had to double up. It was pretty bland, despite adding a bay leaf and very good Parmigiano Reggiano as well as some strong chicken and veggie stock and a lot of wine. I dont think I would bother making this again except as a side dish.

I thought for as easy as this recipe is to "throw" together, it was very tasty! I loved the saffron and parmigiano mix. perfect for a night when I want some comfort food but doesn't have a million calories either. The only down side was that it wasn't enough for my husband and I so next time, iɽ double the recipe.

Red Wine Mushroom & Pancetta Risotto Recipe

  • boil the water and add to the stock cube

Step 2

  • peel and finely chop the red onion
  • Add the onions to a pan with a 1/4 of the butter and a spot of olive oil
  • cook for a minute or two

Step 3

  • wash the risotto rice
  • add the rice to the red onions
  • cook until the rice starts to look transparent
  • add the red wine, cook till wine has evaporated
  • add the stock to the onions and rice mixture a ladle at a time allowing the stock to be absorbed by the rice , continue adding ladle after ladle until all the stock is used up.
  • when the water is fully incorporated the rice should be cooked, it should be soft on the outside with a slight bite in the middle

Step 4

  • while the risotto is cooking
  • heat the olive oil in the frying pan
  • dice the pancetta
  • add to the frying pan

Step 5

  • wash and slice the chestnut mushrooms
  • add the mushrooms to the frying pan with the pancetta
  • cook the mushrooms until coloured
  • set a side

Step 6

Step 7

  • return the mushroom and pancetta to the heat, heat through
  • add the mushrooms and pancetta to the risotto and stir

Step 8

  • finely grate the parmesan
  • save a little grated parmesan to sprinkle over the risotto. add the remaining parmesan to the rice
  • taste and season with salt and pepper if necessary
  • Stir and then place a lid on the pan
  • leave for five minutes

Step 9

  • share the contents of the pan equally between the serving bowls
  • sprinkle the parmesan over the risotto and serve

Recipe Utensils

  • 1 chopping board
  • 1 frying pan
  • 1 grater
  • 1 jug
  • 1 large knife
  • 1 large pan
  • 1 sieve

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Pancetta & Parmesan Risotto

Before I give you this recipe, I think I need to clarify something. I usually won’t go near a risotto with a barge pole. Usually because they harbour a key ingredient that I despise: mushrooms. People have tried to sneak them into my food, they’ve tried innovative ways for me to try them and I still hate them. Even if I don’t know they’re there, I can still taste them. So I resigned myself to the fact that although risotto always looks and smells amazing, my mushroom plight will render it inedible to me forevermore.

That was until I received a Nigel Slater cookbook for Christmas. I like to flick through The 30-Minute Cook if I have nothing better to do and find recipes I’d like to try when I stumbled across this gem. It’s easy, and quite cheap to make, but does take time, patience and a watchful eye. If you have other things to do, don’t attempt this one!

1 small onion, finely chopped

75g/3oz pancetta, diced (you can buy it already diced in 70g packs from supermarkets for a v reasonable price)

1 litre/1.75 pints hot chicken stock

50g/2oz grated Parmesan cheese (see above note for pancetta)

1. In a heavy-based pan cook the onion and pancetta in the knob of butter until the onion is soft. (approx 5 mins)

2. Add the rice and stir for a minute while it fries lightly in the butter.

3. Pour in a ladleful of stock (I use a measuring jug and pour in the stock a bit at a time)

4. Let the rice simmer gently, adding another ladle or two of stock as it is absorbed by the rice.

5. Stir almost, bu t not quite, continuously, til the rice has taken up all the stock.

6. Stir in the butter and cheese.

This recipe is a favourite of mine and when I cook it, I put half in the fridge for later in the week. It keeps really well for a good few days.

This recipe was taken from The 30-Minute Cook by Nigel Slater.

I prepared this recipe this evening, but was too hungry to take a photo. Next time I make it, I’ll upload one.

Recipe Summary

  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest, plus 4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 cup finely chopped yellow onion (from 1 small)
  • 1 1/2 cups short-grain Italian rice, such as arborio
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc
  • 1 pinch saffron
  • 1 pound large peeled, deveined shrimp
  • 3/4 cup fresh peas
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (1 1/2 ounces), plus more for serving

In a saucepan, combine broth, 2 cups water, lemon zest, 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Meanwhile, heat a large straight-sided skillet over medium. Swirl in 2 tablespoons oil. Add onion, season with 1/4 teaspoon salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add rice and cook, stirring, until translucent and grains begin to make a popping sound, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in wine and saffron cook until wine is mostly evaporated, about 30 seconds.

Ladle 1 cup broth mixture into skillet. Stir with a wooden spoon at a moderate speed until most of broth is absorbed and bottom of skillet stays visible for a second or two as you mix, 2 to 3 minutes. Continue ladling broth into skillet, about 1/2 cup at a time (or enough to just cover rice). Stir slowly but constantly, allowing rice to absorb most of broth before adding more. Risotto is ready when rice is al dente and broth has thickened to a rich sauce, 20 to 25 minutes. (You may not need to use all of broth.) Add shrimp and peas to skillet with last addition of broth cook until shrimp are opaque, 2 to 3 minutes.

Remove from heat. Stir in butter, lemon juice, and cheese season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with more cheese and pepper to serve. If the risotto becomes stiff before serving, stir in more hot broth, a little at a time, until it's loose and creamy.


Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the parsnips and boil until firm-tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain and spread on a rimmed baking sheet to cool to room temperature.

Heat 2 Tbs. of the olive oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the parsnips, a pinch of salt, and a few grinds of pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Add the pancetta and cook until sizzling and crisp, about 2 minutes. Add the sage and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until the garlic is fragrant and the sage is starting to crisp, about 2 minutes more. Set aside.

Heat the remaining 2 Tbs. olive oil in an 11- to 12-inch straight-sided sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion, a small pinch of salt, and a few grinds of pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to soften, about 5 minutes.

Add the rice, 2 tsp. salt, and the saffron (if using), stirring well to coat. Add 2 cups of the broth and the wine simmer, stirring, until the liquid is completely absorbed, 3 to 4 minutes. Continue adding the broth in 1 cup increments, stirring and adjusting the heat to maintain a brisk simmer and letting each addition be almost absorbed before adding the next. The risotto is done when the rice is nearly but not fully tender (al dente) and still a little soupy (this usually takes 14 to 16 minutes after the first addition of liquid). You may not use all the broth, but you should use at least 4 cups.

Fold the parsnip mixture into the risotto. Add the butter and Parmigiano and stir gently to incorporate. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve sprinkled with more grated Parmigiano.

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This was a waste of saffron - I couldn't even begin to taste it. Also, is it really that hard to make risotto the traditional way, adding the hot broth/wine mixture a cup at a time? This dish was lazy, and tasted no better than an upscale TV dinner. What a waste of expensive asparagus and saffron! Next time I'll just make butternut squash and pancetta risotto - also on this site. I love that one!

This was a successful way to introduce my children to saffron--to learn to cook with it and enjoy dining on the results. We used carrots in place of asparagus to suit them. Sprinkling a few toasted pine nuts on top made it more of a main dish.

I have to agree with the cook from the San Francisco Area. I did not like it and I do like saffron. Unfortunately I don't know what it was. maybe just the combination. :(

I left out all vegetables and otherwise followed the recipe. Added the Tbsp butter at end. My husband loved it. Delicious and pure risotto taste!

I thought this was good. I didn't use the asparagus - I used mushrooms instead. And I also used very good Chardonnay. I think that is a must. I'm not sure why frozen peas were reccommended. Fresh is always better for a risotto. I am interested to try this adding sausage. Mmmmmm

I don't usually give a recipe 4 forks, but this one deserved it. Followed the recipe almost as written. Softened 1/2 cp. onion in the oil prior to adding the rice, added the liquid in the traditional way, about 1/2 to 1/3 cp at a time, and stirred in about 1 tbsp. butter at the end. Fantastic. Served with the apple dried cherry salad with the maple mayo dressing that is on this website and is delicious along with a good cibatta from the local Italian bakery and the rest of the white wine used in the recipe. I think the secret is in the seasoning at the end, using a good quality parmesano reggiano cheese, a good quality saffron and a decent wine. Thw tbsp of butter finished it off beautifully.

My husband has an aversion to peas, so I sauteed a variety of mushrooms and red pepper to add with the asparagus. Lent some great color to the dish, and he loved it!

I didn't like this at all. I'm not sure what was wrong--maybe I don't like saffron. In any event, it just wasn't worth the calories. What I did learn, though, is that you can make a risotto of decent consistency using the method they used, pouring almost all of the broth over the rice at once, and not having to stand over it and stir the whole time.


  • 1 pinch saffron
  • ⅓ cup hot water
  • 4 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1 small shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 ½ cups Arborio rice
  • ¾ cup dry white wine
  • 3 ¼ cups boiling vegetable stock
  • ⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese, or to taste

Soak saffron threads in hot water in a bowl.

Melt 2 1/2 tablespoons butter in a pressure cooker over low heat. Cook and stir shallot until soft, about 3 minutes. Add rice cook and stir for a few minutes until rice has absorbed butter and is toasted, about 3 minutes. Pour in wine and allow alcohol to cook off, about 1 minute. Add boiling stock all at once and stir. Close cooker securely and place pressure regulator over vent according to manufacturer's instructions. Increase heat to high. Heat until steam escapes in a steady flow and makes a whistling sound. Reduce heat to low and cook for 4 minutes.

Remove cooker from heat and release pressure carefully using the quick-release method according to manufacturer's instructions, about 5 minutes. Carefully open once pressure is completely released and stir well. Stir in saffron, remaining 1 1/2 tablespoon butter, Parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper.

Let risotto rest for 3 minutes in order to expand, soak up the stock, and absorb flavor. Serve in warmed bowls with extra grated Parmesan cheese.

Prawn, pancetta & watercress risotto

Heat 1 tbsp oil in a wide pan and fry the pancetta for 2 mins on each side. Drain on kitchen paper, then crumble. Fry the onion in the same pan for 5 mins until soft.

Stir in the rice and garlic for 2 mins to coat in the oil. Add half the stock, bring to the boil and simmer for 5 mins until absorbed. Add the remaining stock, a ladleful at a time, constantly stirring until the rice is tender, about 20 mins.

Stir in most of the watercress and the parmesan. Season well. Add the lemon zest and a squeeze of juice.

Spoon half the risotto onto a plate (use for lunch the next day, see tip below). Add the prawns to the pan and cook for 2 mins until pink. Toss the rest of the watercress with 1 tsp oil and lemon juice. Serve over the risotto with some pancetta and parmesan.


Divide the leftover risotto between two lunchboxes and top with the remaining pancetta. Warm through and serve with watercress or salad.

Watch the video: Ριζότο με κοτόπουλο. Άκης Πετρετζίκης (May 2022).