Cook the Book: Saffron Risotto with Mushrooms 

Cook the Book: Saffron Risotto with Mushrooms\u00a0

[Photograph: Francesc Guillamet]

More often than not you'll find rice at restaurant staff meals throughout the world. Quick, simple, and inexpensive rice. Rice was also a big player at elBulli's family meals for Ferran Adrià and his staff. In his latest cookbook all about what the cooks cook for themselves, rice makes quite a few appearances, with squid and squid ink, in puddings, and in this Saffron Risotto with Mushrooms.

This creamy, buttery risotto is flecked with stands of lightly toasted saffron which colors it a deep, bright yellow. Although the risotto is finished with butter and Parmigiano, Ferran Adrià goes a step further by garnishing it with paper-thin slices of mushrooms that lend another level of earthiness and texture to an already great dish.

Meant to be served alongside big legs of Catalan-Style Turkey this makes for the sort of hearty, rib sticking meal that will keep a restaurant going strong even on the busiest of weekend nights.

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of The Family Meal to give away this week.

Adapted from The Family Meal by Ferran Adrià. Copyright © 2011. Published by Phiadon. Available wherever books are sold. All Rights Reserved

  • Yield:6
  • Active time: 25 minutes
  • Total time:25 minutes


  • 7¾ cups chicken stock
  • 2 pinches saffron strands
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped onion
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • 3 cups risotto rice
  • 6 medium white mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/3 cups finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice 


  1. 1.

    Pour the stock into a saucepan. Cover with a lid and bring to a simmer.

  2. 2.

    Wrap the saffron threads in aluminum foil. Toast in a frying pan for 1 minute over a medium heat, being careful not to let it burn. Cool.

  3. 3.

    Heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the onion and fry for about 5 minutes, until softened but not browned.

  4. 4.

    Pour in the white wine and scrape up any sediment from the bottom of the pan. When most of the white wine has boiled away, add the rice and stir for 3 minutes.

  5. 5.

    Add a ladle of hot stock. Stir the rice frequently for 2-3 minutes to prevent it from sticking. Pour in the remaining stock. Chop the toasted saffron and sprinkle into the pan. Cook the rice for another 16 minutes, stirring frequently.

  6. 6.

    Meanwhile, quickly wipe clean the mushrooms with a paper towel, then finely slice using a mandolin or a sharp knife.

  7. 7.

    When the rice has absorbed most of the liquid and is just firm to the bite, add the butter. Add the Parmesan cheese. Stir well until the rice becomes creamy. Season with salt, pepper, and lemon juice.

  8. 8.

    Spoon the risotto onto serving plates. Scatter the mushroom slices over the risotto. The heat from the rice will lightly “cook” the mushrooms.