Diane Phillips, a Great News cooking instructor, describes this recipe as a variation on classic risotto, but simpler because it doesn't require stirring. I'm not sure how much I agree, as real risotto has a remarkably creamy and velvety texture that comes from the high amylopectin content of Arborio or Carnaroli rice-something that can't be simulated. Still, it's a delicious side dish, and would be a fine accompaniment to rich seafood and chicken dishes, particularly those with cream sauces.
* 1/4 cup unsalted butter
* 1 cup finely chopped brown onion
* 1/8 tsp. saffron threads
* 2 cups long-grain rice
* 4 cups chicken, beef or vegetable broth
* 1 cup whole or 2% milk
* 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
* Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
In a 4-quart saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and saffron threads and cook, stirring until the onion is softened, about three minutes. Add the rice and cook for another two minutes, stirring frequently. Slowly add the broth and milk and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the rice is tender and the liquid is absorbed, 25 to 30 minutes. Stir in the cheese, season with salt and pepper and serve.Phillips suggests substituting 1/4 teaspoon of sweet paprika should saffron be out of your price range. However, saffron can be purchased quite affordably at a Persian market, often for less than half of what you would pay at a conventional grocery store or specialty food shop. Parsian International Market in Clairemont (5911 Balboa Ave.) has excellent Persian saffron for a reasonable price, along with a full range of Middle Eastern food products.