Are you familiar with the most expensive spice in the world? Saffron, which is what gives some dishes that bright yellow color, is actually the dried stigma and styles of certain crocus flowers. Saffron threads run from $114 per ounce on up, so thankfully a little goes a long way.
I normally think of saffron as a Spanish spice since my first exposure was in Spanish class in high school. We learned about saffron while make paella. However, the origins may be from Iran or possibly Greece.
I noticed that Italian dishes also incorporate saffron. In particular, Risotto Milanese featured saffron. If you have not made this dish, you need to. Not only does it taste amazing, but like most risotto dishes, it is easy. While Mike was grilling a pork tenderloin, I made the risotto, and they both were ready about the same time.
Risotto Milanese is made with Arborio rice, chicken broth, dry white wine, salt, pepper, onion, butter, olive oil, Parmesan cheese and saffron. Some recipes add parsley as well. It only takes about 20 minutes to make. The worst part is the continual stirring, but I must admit I have been known to briefly walk away every now and then.
There are several recipes available online; I chose the one on the Food & Wine magazine website. The flavor was even better than I imagined.
If you can’t find saffron threads locally, they may be purchased on Amazon.com. Just buy a very small amount as that is all you will need for this recipe.