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Dutch Oven Saffron Risotto

Photo: Oxmoor House


Hands-on time 10 mins
Total time 1 hr
Yield Serves 6 (serving size: about 3/4 cup)
Rice has two kinds of starches--amylose and amylopectin. Amylose is more prominent in long-grain rices and is the reason they cook up fluffy, distinct, and separate. Amylopectin, on the other hand, gelatinizes when cooked, and the short- and medium-grain rices used for risotto have an ideal quantity of amylopectin. Interestingly, the pricier carnaroli and vialone nano rices have relatively high amylose levels, and so will cook up more distinct and separate while still lending enough amylopectin to thicken the cooking liquid. We toast only half of the rice here, so that we can immediately "wash off" some starch from the not-toasted batch of rice when the broth is added. Constant stirring? Not really necessary. You'll see.


  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon saffron
  • 4 1/2 cups lower-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup minced yellow onion
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio or other risotto-friendly rice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • 2 tablespoons grated fresh pecorino Romano cheese

Nutrition Information

  • calories 215
  • fat 3 g
  • satfat 1.9 g
  • monofat 0.5 g
  • polyfat 0.1 g
  • protein 7 g
  • carbohydrate 40 g
  • fiber 2 g
  • cholesterol 11 mg
  • iron 0.0 mg
  • sodium 350 mg
  • calcium 22 mg

How to Make It

  1. Preheat your oven to 375°.

  2. Place the lemon zest in a small bowl. Combine the lemon juice and the saffron in a separate small bowl.

  3. Heat the broth in a small saucepan over medium heat until just simmering. Do not boil.

  4. Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat.

  5. Add the butter. Sauté and swirl until the foaming point.

  6. Add the onion and stir 4 minutes, until glassy and soft.

  7. Add half of the rice and stir to combine. Toast the rice gently, about 2 minutes. Now, add the lemon zest and the rest of the rice. Stir to combine.

  8. Add all of the broth to the rice.

  9. Add the saffron-lemon juice mixture.

  10. Add the salt and the white pepper.

  11. Cover and transfer to the oven. Bake for 40 minutes, until the moisture is almost fully absorbed by the rice.

  12. Carefully pull the oven rack out a bit. Remove the lid, and stir and fold with a wooden spoon until the risotto is creamy, yet the rice grains are still distinguishable.

  13. Sprinkle the cheese over the top of the risotto and bake, uncovered, an additional 8 minutes. Serve immediately.

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