Saffron Spaghetti Cooked Risotto-Style

Saffron spaghetti cooked risotto-style is a dish that harmoniously blends the famous Italian tradition of pasta with the creamy, constant stirring method characteristic of risotto.

Saffron, a golden and aromatic spice, is reminiscent of the streets of Persia and the paella dishes of Spain. When infused with the pasta, it elevates the spaghetti to a luxurious delicacy, tinting it with a gentle yellow and gracing it with a unique, aromatic flavor.

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By borrowing the risotto technique, the spaghetti absorbs the flavors more intensely, and the resultant dish is a creamy, flavorful fusion that delights the palate.

For this first course, we used only onion, saffron, and spaghetti, all cooked slowly in a pan, adding hot vegetable broth, resulting in creamy saffron spaghetti cooked in the manner of risotto.

Discover with us the secrets of saffron spaghetti cooked risotto style, a simple Italian dish that will make a big impression on your guests!

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  • Prep Time: 5 Min
  • Cook Time: 10 Min
  • Servings: 4

  • 350g (3/4 pound) of spaghetti.
  • 1/2 liter (2 cups) of vegetable broth made with our recipe
  • 1/2 teaspoon of saffron threads or 1 sachet of saffron
  • 30 g (1/4 stick) of unsulted butter
  • 2 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 little onion, finely chopped
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 50 g (~1/2 cup) of grated Parmigiano cheese + more to serve. We recommend Vacche Rosse Parmigiano Reggiano seasoned 24 months

Saffron Spaghetti Risotto-Style Recipe: Instructions

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Step 1) – To make saffron pasta cooked like a risotto, first prepare a vegetable broth with carrots, onions, celery, potatoes and various flavorings (see our recipe). You can also prepare the broth 1 or 2 days in advance and store it in the refrigerator.

When it’s ready, put the broth on low heat and let it simmer while you wait to use it.

Then chop the onion finely and set aside.

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Step 2) – Bring plenty of water to a boil to cook the pasta and add salt. Dip the spaghetti without breaking them up.

Cook them for 2 minutes, no more! The spaghetti should be soft enough to bend, but still uncooked.

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Step 3) – Meanwhile, in a large pan sauté the onion in extra virgin olive oil and butter over low heat for a couple of minutes.

When the onion is translucent, drain the still uncooked spaghetti and put them in the pan with the onion. Stir and allow the spaghetti to take on flavor.

Then turn the heat up to medium and add a ladle of broth.

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Step 4) – Cook the spaghetti in the broth over medium heat for 5 minutes.

Taste the pasta often to figure out the degree of cooking! This is the hardest part. Be careful not to overcook the pasta. Better to add the broth a little at a time and taste.

When it’s about 2 minutes to the end of cooking time, dissolve the saffron in some of the broth, about 1/4 cup.

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Step 5) – Add the saffron and stir. Raise the heat to high and finish cooking.

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Turn off the heat. Add grated Parmigiano cheese and plenty of freshly ground black pepper and stir.

Saffron spaghetti cooked risotto-style are ready. Serve them immediately hot and creamy with an additional sprinkling of Parmigiano and freshly ground black pepper. Buon appetito!

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How to Store Saffron Spaghetti

Properly storing saffron spaghetti, or any other flavored pasta, is essential to maintain its taste, texture and aroma.

We recommend eating saffron pasta as soon as it’s ready, still hot and creamy.

Should the saffron spaghetti be leftover though, let the spaghetti cool to room temperature.

Then mix the cooled spaghetti with a small amount of oil to prevent sticking.

Finally, store the saffron spaghetti possibly in food-safe airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

When you are ready to eat the saffron spaghetti, you can reheat them in a microwave oven or in a frying pan over medium heat, adding a tablespoon of water to soften them.

We do not recommend freezing them.

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“Risottare”, an Italian Cooking Technique

“Risottare” is a culinary word that refers to a cooking method inspired by the technique used to prepare risotto.

While the word itself is derived from “risotto,” when applied to ingredients other than rice, it means a process in which the main ingredient (e.g., pasta) is cooked in a broth or other liquid, adding the liquid a little at a time, just as one would with risotto.

When you make pasta risotto-style, you start by sautéing it in a pan with oil or butter, garlic, onion, or other flavorings.

Then, instead of boiling the pasta in a large amount of water as is traditional, the pasta is cooked by adding broth or other liquid a little at a time, continuing to stir, until the pasta is cooked al dente and has absorbed most of the liquid.

This method emphasizes the blending of flavors and produces a pasta that has a very rich texture and flavor.

In essence, “risottare” is a technique to deeply infuse the main ingredient with the flavor of the liquid in which it is cooked, providing a creamy risotto-like texture.

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Pasta with Saffron Sauce, Classic Recipe

Here is the classic saffron pasta variation. You can use any kind of pasta, even fresh egg pasta.

If you’re using saffron threads, let it steep in 1/2 cup of hot water for at least 30 minutes. If you’re using powdered saffron, you can simply dilute it in a little water.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add salt and then the pasta. Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the package until they are al dente.

While the pasta is cooking, heat 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil in a large saucepan. If you want a creamier consistency, you can add a little heavy cream.

Add the saffron (and the water in which it was infused) to the skillet. Stir well so that the oil and saffron combine perfectly.

When the spaghetti is ready, drain it and transfer it to the pan with the saffron sauce. Stir well so that the spaghetti is well seasoned.

Serve immediately, garnishing with ground black pepper and grated Parmigiano cheese.

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5 thoughts on “Saffron Spaghetti Cooked Risotto-Style”

  1. I had a saffron pasta with octopus in Portland, Oregon @ Q’s restaurant. An incredible recipe with a bite of pepper. It’s making my mouth water thinking about it. I will make up a recipe soon.

    • Hello Christian,
      I can tell you that a lot depends on tastes. I tasted saffron pasta with prawns or swordfish that were delicious. Indeed, thanks for your comment 😀

      • I had this dish recently at a place near Trapani that was amazing. The based was saffron spaghetti risotto-style topped with local shrimp tartare mixed with ground red pepper berries & local truffle. One dish I MUST recreate!!!! Simple and amazing, paired great with a Sicilian Frappato. Thanks for the cooking tips!!!


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