Throughout the centuries saffron has been a symbol of wealth and elegance. Cleopatra used saffron water to keep her skin soft. Roman Emperor Nero sprinkled the streets with saffron water to honor his return to Rome. Persians considered it a tonic for the heart as it was thought to alleviate melancholy. The spice was introduced into Spain by the Arabs, and later cultivated in Mediterranean regions and throughout Europe. Today we use it for the Health Benefits of Saffron .
Rice was introduced into Italy during the Middle Ages by Venetian or Genoese merchants, who traded with the east. The earliest documentation of rice cultivation in Italy dates to 1475. Risotto is specific to northern Italy where rice paddies are abundant.
The secret to Risotto is the constant movement of rice being stirred with a wooden spoon. The outward grain breaks away from the rice and a creamy effect is quickly noticeable.
3 Tbsp Olive oil
1 onion peeled and minced
300 g. Arborio Rice
1/2 c white wine
2 cups broth (vegetable or chicken)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp Saffron or 1tsp Tumeric
1/2 c parmesan cheese`
In a small sauce pan, add water and 2 bullion cubes and bring water to a simmer. Turn off water. In a separate frying pan add olive oil and onion. Allow to saute` over medium low heat for 5 minutes. Add rice and slowly incorporate into oil and onion. Add white wine, all while stirring the rice. Continue to stir rice for about another 5 minutes. Add salt. Slowly add in 2 ladles of broth at a time always stirring . As water is absorbed by the rice add in additional broth. From the time the rice is added to the frying pan to the end of preparation will be about 17 minutes. Add in Saffron all while stirring rice and the rice becomes yellow. Stir in cheese. Rice should be barely al dente and creamy in texture.