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Simple Risotto

As far as I’m concerned this is a quick evening meal, let me tell you how to make a no-stir risotto…..more time to drink wine!

March 20, 2018

Simple Risotto

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ingredients for four
2 pinches saffron stigmas
200gm brown onion
2 x medium cloves garlic
1 cup risotto rice
600ml well seasoned chicken stock
60gm to 80gm grated parmesan cheese
fennel and chicken
400gm medium fennel bulbs
2 x small boneless,
skinless chicken breasts
extra virgin olive oil
salt flakes
white pepper


  1. START RECIPE 24 HOURS BEFORE. Place saffron stigmas in glass or small bowl, pour over 100ml just boiled water. Set aside to cool and steep for 24 hours.
  2. When ready to cook, pre-heat oven to 190°C. Remove chicken from fridge.
  3. Pick handful fennel fronds from stalks and set aside until serving. Trim green stalks from fennel bulb and discard. Cut bulb into 8 to 12 wedges, removing majority of core if large. Toss fennel in bowl with 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt and a few grinds white pepper. Place in single layer on non-stick paper lined baking tray. Roast in oven for 25 minutes, until caramelized on edges.
  4. Make risotto. Peel and chop onion. Place large frying or shallow pan over medium high heat. Fry onion in 2 tablespoons olive oil for 5 to 7 minutes. Season with ½ teaspoon salt flakes and a couple of grinds white pepper.
  5. Meanwhile, heat stock in microwave or on stove in saucepan to a simmer.
  6. Crush garlic and when onion is lightly coloured, add to frying pan, stir briefly.
  7. Immediately add risotto rice. Stir to coat in oil and heat for a couple of minutes. Season with 1 teaspoon salt flakes and about 6 grinds white pepper.
  8. Add hot stock, it should boil immediately, and stir. Pour in saffron water and stigmas. Stir again and place lid on pan.
  9. Adjust heat to ensure a simmer to cook rice correctly. If heat too high, the stock will evaporate and rice may catch on base of pan. If not simmering enough, risotto will take a long time to cook and rice will end up mushy. Simmer risotto for about 10 minutes. Briefly stir a couple of times during cooking (if liked but not necessary) to check on progress. Keep the lid on the pan throughout cooking process.
  10. To check for doneness of rice, taste it. Ideally it should be three-quarters cooked, soft on the outside but still opaque and chewy in the middle. Also the level of stock will have dropped to about a quarter of the amount originally added. If rice still has a chalky centre, continue to cook until done.
  11. Meanwhile, cut chicken breasts into ¼cm thick slices. When rice is nearly cooked and is at the stage described above, stir chicken through hot rice. Replace lid on pan immediately. Cook for another 4 to 5 minutes, until chicken and rice are both tender.
  12. Serve chicken saffron risotto topped with roasted fennel and a few reserved fennel fronds. Scatter with parmesan.

cooks notes:

  • All salt used in our recipes is Murray River Salt Flakes If using granular salt, cut down amounts accordingly.
  • To make this even more simple, omit the saffron and make a ‘white’ risotto.
  • Add about 100ml dry white wine to hot rice before stock goes in if liked.
  • Parmesan cheese is not compulsory as risotto tastes great without.
  • Purchase Parmesan as a block (I recommend Grana Padano) and grate yourself. Do not use pre-grated supermarket Parmesan as flavour is underwhelming.
  • Alter this recipe by adding your favourite vegetable, pre-roasted or steamed and stirred through hot as risotto is being served.
  • Risotto rice does vary in quality. For best results use the Italian Ferron Risotto Rice brand for superior taste and texture. Risotto rice grown in Australia unfortunately is not nearly as delicious and doesn’t contain the same nutrition as the Ferron rice.

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Meet the team

Tracey Cotterell

Tracey Cotterell
Tracey Cotterell


Tracey has been in the food industry since completing her Diploma in Hotel, Catering and Institutional Management in 1982 in the UK. She worked for an outside catering company in London, then joined her parents in rural West Sussex running

View Tracey’s full profile.

Tracey Cotterell

Tracey Cotterell


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