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Saffron Risotto with Peas

By Kitty Morse with adaptation by Debbie Kornberg


The extraordinary Kitty Morse has been one of my most valued mentors. In 2020, we did a virtual cooking class together utilizing SPICE + LEAF Premium Vegan Broth Base to create this delicious vegetarian risotto. This is one of Kitty’s all-time favorite risotto recipes so trust me when I tell you it is good! When looking for high quality saffron, you will want to make sure that it has ideally a consistent red color and a strong fragrance. Almost all saffron – the world’s most expensive spice by weight – grows in a swath across Spain and North Africa stretching east toward India.



10-12 Threads saffron, crushed

2 Tbsp. Premium Vegan Broth Base

4 cups of hot water divided use

1 stick butter, divided use

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 medium onion, finely chopped

1 Cup Arborio rice

1/2 cup white wine

1/2 tsp. white pepper

1/2 cup baby peas

1 Cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese, divided use

Lemon wedges, for serving



Take 4 cups of hot water and add Premium Vegan Broth Base. Mix well. Let it sit for 5 minutes. Then using a cheesecloth and a bowl, strain out the broth sediment. Discard broth sediment.  


Steep the saffron in 1/2 cup vegetable broth for about 10 minutes. Set aside. 


In a 2-quart saucepan, melt 4 Tbsp. butter over medium heat. Cook the garlic and onion, stirring occasionally until soft, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the rice, stirring continuously until the rice is coated with butter, about 1 minute. Add the wine in increments and cook, stirring, until all the wine is absorbed, 5 – 6 minutes. 


Slowly add the saffron broth and pepper. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring gently until the saffron broth is almost completely absorbed, 5 – 7 minutes. Add the remaining vegetable broth in increments, stirring constantly until the grain is tender but not mushy, about 25 – 30 minutes. Add a little additional water if rice is not cooked all the way through. 


Stir in peas, 1/2 cups cheese, and remaining butter. If you make the risotto and, keep it warm on top of the stove, and add more vegetable broth to attain a creamy consistency before serving. Serve with remaining grated cheese and wedges of lemon. 


NOTE: This recipe has been adapted from Kitty Morse’s Edible Flowers: A Kitchen Companion with Recipes with exclusive permission. 


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