Yesterday was our seventh wedding anniversary. Since my husband and I have been together, one of the more favorite dishes we enjoy eating (and making) is risotto. Smooth and creamy. Comforting and rich. There are no two ways about it. Risotto is stick-to-your-ribs comfort food and not in any way healthy. Risotto is an Italian rice cooked slowly in broth to a hearty consistency treated more like a pasta dish than a rice dish. It’s so yummy, I could sometimes make a meal of it all by itself!
One of my dear girlfriends is getting married Saturday and I’m actually in the wedding, so we really have no room to be too unhealthy this week (especially after our cruise last week). But it’s our anniversary! I couldn’t resist making this Risotto Milanese. I filled the rest of our plates with salmon and broccoli, both still a perfect fit with risotto. Seafood generally pairs well with risotto, though you may use any protein or vegetable of your choice.
I rather fittingly got the risotto recipe from my copy of the Williams-Sonoma Bride & Groom Cookbook that a sweet friend blessed me with a handful of years ago. This cookbook has been such a joy to cook from and I highly recommend it for any newlyweds as a gift or even a personal purchase! The recipes are accessible to the home cook, but offer more elevated flavors than you would typically find in your everyday cookbooks. The recipe can also be found here!
Risotto Milanese utilizes saffron in its preparation and this is exactly what drew me to this particular recipe. Until yesterday, I’d never used saffron. Initially, I assumed that it would be difficult to use, like curry, since it can be quite expensive and only a small amount is used. I was so wrong. So. Wrong. The sweet, lightly floral fragrance that greeted me when I opened the container of delicate, crimson threads instantly assured me that this spice is in no way as aggressive as curry. This risotto turned out bright, creamy and satisfying. The colorful strands running throughout the bright yellow rice were not only beautiful, but lent an indescribable depth and sophistication to the flavor I hadn’t experienced prior. It was so good, the Mr went back for seconds!
I discovered that saffron threads are actually the stigmas and styles of the Saffron Crocus flower. They are hand-collected and dried in a time-consuming, laborious process resulting in its steeper price than your average seasoning. Though it is pricey, a pinch of good saffron will go a long way. I got an amazing deal on saffron at World Market here! World Market really is one of my favorite places to shop for specialty items and ingredients you can’t find elsewhere. Also, if you’re a part of their loyalty program, they’re currently running a private sale with 30% off almost everything and 10% off food & beverages. That’s 10% off an already good deal! The quantity I bought will be enough to also make paella later. Mmmm paella…
What is your favorite culinary tradition (big or small) with your loved ones (big or small)?