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James Carrier Photo by: James Carrier

Saffron Orzo

Sunset NOVEMBER 2003

  • Yield: Makes 6 servings


  • 1/4 teaspoon crumbled saffron threads
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped shallots
  • 12 ounces dried orzo pasta
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 teaspoons slivered lemon peelslivered lemon peel
  • 2 cups fat-skimmed chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup grated pecorino romano or parmesan cheese
  • Salt and fresh-ground pepperpepper


1. In a glass measure, combine saffron and 1 cup hot water. Let stand for 20 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, in a 3- to 4-quart pan over medium-high heat, melt butter. When it is foamy, add shallots and stir until limp, about 1 minute. Stir in orzo, thyme, and lemon peel. Stir often until some of the orzo is deep golden brown, about 5 minutes.

3. Pour in broth, wine, and saffron water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to maintain a simmer. Cover and cook until liquid is absorbed and orzo is tender to bite, about 20 minutes.

4. Stir in lemon juice, cheese, and salt and pepper to taste. Spoon into a serving bowl and serve immediately.

Nutritional Information

Amount per serving
  • Calories: 307
  • Calories from fat: 20%
  • Protein: 13g
  • Fat: 6.7g
  • Saturated fat: 3.8g
  • Carbohydrate: 45g
  • Fiber: 1.6g
  • Sodium: 152mg
  • Cholesterol: 17mg

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Saffron Orzo Recipe