Saffron & Smoked Garlic Risotto

We love a good risotto in this house, and I’ve got into the habit of making them regularly.  Before I first tried making one, I’d always assumed they were hard to get right.  Now I know the truth – once you get the basic technique down (read: stirring without getting distracted and leaving the kitchen) they become simplicity itself, therapeutic to make, comforting and satisfying to eat.  And the variations!  Oh, the variations.  I’ve seen a few delicious looking ones on here recently – Spring Duck & Pea Shoot Risotto from My Kitchen Witch,  Porcini Risotto with Scallops and Oregano from that other cooking blog, and spring vegetable risotto with a poached egg from Cottage Grove House.

I tend to pack my risottos with veg (that way, we consume less rice, but still fill our bellies with a big bowlful of food) but wanted to try something different.  I had saffron on my brain.  I’ve only eaten Risotto alla Milanese once, but it was stunning and the taste has stuck with me.  Inspiration found – saffron risotto it was to be!  Earlier in the week, I’d picked up a huge bulb of smoked garlic, not sure what I was going to turn it into.  It just had to become a part of this dish, which managed to be both heady with earthy flavours, sweet, and rich, but not overly so.  Score!

Err, now for the embarrassing bit.  I can make perfectly poached eggs.  I just happen to do it using clingfilm.  There, confession made.  Now on to the recipe…




80-100g Arborio rice

1 white onion, diced

4 large cloves smoked garlic, grated

1 generous pinch saffron

About 50ml white wine (optional)

About 800ml stock (I soaked some dried porcinis and used the resulting soaking liquid, but would equally happily use chicken stock)

1 tbsp. oil/butter, plus a little extra (I would usually use butter for risotto, but we were all out)

10-20g parmesan, finely grated

2 eggs

125g fresh spinach

Black pepper




Fry the onion over a medium heat, stirring to make sure it doesn’t catch on the pan.  Meanwhile, heat your stock, then keep it on a simmer.

After the onion has started to take on a golden hue, add the rice, followed by the wine.  Cook off, stirring, until absorbed.  Add a ladleful of stock, the saffron and the garlic, and cook, stirring every now and then, until the rice has absorbed the stock.  Repeat this with ladleful after ladleful of stock.

When the risotto is nearly done (25-35 minutes, depending on your pan and hob and wrist action), it’s time to get on with the spinach and the eggs.  Lightly sauté the spinach in a little oil or butter over a gentle heat, making sure to season well.  Next – the eggs.  You may well have your own way of poaching eggs (and by that, I mean a way that doesn’t involve clingfilm), but anyway, here’s mine!  Fill a small saucepan with water and put it on to boil.  Put a good amount of clingfilm over a large mug (you need enough to accommodate the egg, plus extra for wrapping), then crack in your egg and carefully twist up the top of the clingfilm.  Repeat with the other egg.  Reduce heat of the water until it’s been steadily just below a boil for sixty seconds, then add the eggs.  The water should reduce to a good simmer.  Cook for five to five and a half minutes for perfectly cooked, runny-yolked eggs.  Remove from the pan.

Stir about half of the parmesan through the risotto and season to taste.  Spoon into your bowls, making a well in the middle to accommodate the spinach.  Divide your by now perfectly wilted spinach between both dishes, top with the eggs which have been carefully removed from the clingfilm (a superhuman ability to not feel heat helps) then sprinkle with the remaining parmesan, if liked.


Saffron & Smoked Garlic Risotto



  1. Clingfilm?!?! Who would have thought? Love the risotto.

  2. I’m seeing saffron everywhere today! I have never used it because it’s so expensive, but maybe I need to? I love rice, but I’ll admit I’m a little afraid of the risotto… Time to step out of my foodie comfort zone!

    1. I love saffron and use it in quite a few different things, but I know what you mean – it’s pricey! I go through periods where I run out and can’t bring myself to buy it, but then I remember how much I miss it. It’s always worth getting good quality stuff if you are going to shell out! And I hope you have a go with a risotto!

  3. Karinna – I love risotto and make one most weeks to use up left over roast chicken using stock made from said chicken’s bones but I especially love risotto milanese especially with seafood – yours looks glorious!! And those eggs – I can’t poach an egg to save my life – I even bough those silicone cups to make them in but no matter how much I butter them, they get stuck and it’s all very messy. I am definitely going to give the cling film method a go tomorrow and will let you know if I finally manage to make decent ones!

    1. Oooh, I hope it works! And thanks, we really enjoyed the risotto. Do you put left over chicken meat in your weekly risotto, or just the stock?

      1. Now going out for brunch but I am determined to try this technique out! I will def let you know when I do!. I strip the chicken when it is still warm and set that aside . Then I break the bones up and stick them in a pot with any crispy bits of skin, herbs, gooey bits from the tin, empty roast garlic skins – just the general debris left over from a roast. Cover with cold water and leave it on low heat for 2 or 3 hours if there is time, otherwise just bring to a boil then simmer for at least an hour. Let it cool a little then strain and skim off any fat. I usually don;t have much fat in there at all. It’s perfect for risottos and pot pies etc…The rice then gets stored with the stock and I add some of the left over chicken meat with the last ladle ful of stock. My son commented on how comforting the dish was, the other day!

      2. That sounds really delicious! Sometimes I make a simple stock which I freeze for use in something further down the line, but I usually end up just boiling up the chicken carcass and making it into a soup on the same day (and even that is rare – I made a roast yesterday, but before that the last roast I made was our duck on Christmas day!)

  4. You are right. Once your get the technique of making risotto it is very simple and definitely therapeutic. This one sounds delicious! And the egg….so glad you tried it. Isn’t it a show stopper? It as though it just belongs. Thank you for the link back, very kind of you. 🙂 And I can’t for the life of me figure how you use clingfilm to poach an egg! I’m very intrigued…

    1. My pleasure, your recipe looked so good 🙂 And you can see the cling film method halfway down the article here:

      1. What an interesting article. Thank you for forwarding to me. 🙂

  5. Man, that looks good!! I trained myself out of eating rice a long time ago but I’d eat that!!

    1. Ha, thanks, praise indeed! Do you eat eggs?

      1. No, not often, but I do love a poached egg when I do x I’d make this with quinoa instead probably

      2. Sounds good! Enjoy your Sunday 🙂

  6. And love that egg!!

  7. Thanks so much for sharing. Risotto is one of my very favourite meals…best of Sunday!

  8. This looks fantastic! Love saffron and love risotto.

  9. How different and how delicious sounding.

  10. Hello Karinna – Finally got a chance to try out the eggs poached in cling film – they worked – yay!!!! Thanks so much – my new way to cook them. I’ve posted a pic on my FB page if you want to take a look –

    1. Excellent! I’m so pleased! I don’t do fbook, but had a glance at your page and it looks great 🙂

      1. Glad you approve!!

      2. Btw, notices you had a new picture so looked at your gravatar (stalkerish??) and I love your blouse, it’s beautiful!

      3. Stalk away – thought it was time I showed my face! Blouse is from Zara last spring/summer – thanks, I love it too!

      4. Yay! I would add a little fresh mint to it as well…

  11. Oh my gosh. The flavors look amazing. And that egg: a show-stopper!!!!

  12. […] one poached egg sighting made me chuckle – Cheesy Biscuit’s inventive method of poaching eggs in clingfilm. Brilliant, and yes, it really […]

  13.’re on my blog this morning…thanks for all your support!

    Love D x

    1. Thanks Dimple! You’re very kind!

  14. sounds absolutely exotic. Saffron happens to be my fav ingredient. Got introduced to your blog through Dimple’s latest post about egg recipes which features your risotto recipe. Happy to have connected.

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