Stirring an aromatic and creamy risotto is really a calming activity for me.

Even though I know that a simple basic risotto can be perfectly satisfying, there are days when I want to create something more interesting, something a little bit more luxurious. That’s when I grab this recipe.

PotSwinger - Risotto with saffron and lemon photo


Preparation time: 5minCooking time: 20minServes: 4Freezable: Yes
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 small onion (finely chopped)
  • 2 celery stalks (trimmed and finely chopped)
  • 350g risotto rice (such as Arborio)
  • 1.2 litre chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 big pinch of saffron
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 120ml single cream
  • Zest and juice of a whole lemon
  • 100g grated Parmesan cheese + a little bit extra for the top (finely grated)
  • Salt and pepper to taste


In a small saucepan, bring the stock to boil and keep it on hand while it is gently boiling. Alternatively, you can boil some tap water and dissolve two good-quality chicken or vegetable stock cubes in it. Sprinkle in the saffron and you will see how quickly the colour of the stock is going to change to this gorgeous, deep golden colour.

In a large non-stick pan, heat oil and butter together on medium heat, then add chopped onion and celery and satay them until they soften (it takes about 8-10 minutes). Stir in the rice and keep stirring it for 2-3 minutes or until it gets slightly translucent.

When that happens, turn the heat down a little bit, then start adding the stock to the pan ladle by ladle, allowing each portion of stock to be absorbed. Carry on adding the stock and stirring the risotto until the rice is soft but still has a slight bite. It will take about 15-20 minutes. If you run out of stock before the rice is cooked, just add some boiling water.

Check the seasoning and add salt and pepper if you like. We want the risotto to be rich, sticky and creamy, but still slowly pourable.

Add Parmesan cheese, lemon zest and juice to the dish.

In a small bowl, mix together the egg yolk and cream, then add it to the risotto as well and give it a good stir.

Remove the pan from the heat, cover it with a lid and let the risotto to sit for a couple of minutes before you serve it. It’s best served hot and fresh with a little bit of extra Parmesan cheese, or try it with some stir-fried vegetables, such as mushrooms, on the top.

What to do with the leftover rind of the Parmesan cheese?

It’s basically the hard (but edible) protective outside layer of the cheese which is full of flavour. Never throw them away. Cover with some cling film and keep it in the fridge. For me, it’s like an instant stock cube. So cook it into your soups, pasta sauces and risottos to extract all of the rich flavour of the cheese, and then just simply remove it before you serve the dish.

They will be fine in the fridge or in the freezer for ages.

PotSwinger - Risotto with saffron and lemon photo

Ingredients and equipment I use:

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