I love saffron: the color, the flavor, the exotic-ness of it. And in this risotto, it adds a subtle elegance that's hard to beat.
5 cups spring or filtered water
large pinch saffron threads
extra virgin olive oil
2-3 fresh cloves fresh garlic, thinly sliced
1 yellow onion, diced
1 cup arborio rice, do not rinse
2 cup dry white wine
2 teaspoons sweet white miso
4 ripe tomatoes, quartered, do not peel or seed
3-4 sprigs fresh basil, leaves removed, shredded
Place the water, a generous pinch of salt and the saffron in a sauce pan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce heat to very low to keep the broth warm.
Place a small amount of oil and the garlic and onion in a deep skillet and turn the heat to medium. As soon as the onion sizzles, add a pinch of salt and saute for 1 minute. Stir in the rice and saute just until shiny with oil. Add wine, reduce heat to medium-low and stir until the rice has absorbed the wine. Add a ladle of the saffron broth, stirring occasionally, until it has been almost completely absorbed. Continue adding broth in this manner, a ladle at a time, until all the stock has been used--this process will take about 20-25 minutes. The resulting rice should be tender and creamy, but retain some firmness. Dissolve the miso in a small amount of warm water and stir into the finished rice. Place the rice over very low heat while preparing the tomatoes
Brush oil generously over a griddle pan and heat until very hot. Add the tomatoes and cook over high heat until they are lightly scorched and beginning to wilt. Sprinkle with basil leaves and season lightly with salt and pepper.
To serve, spoon the risotto into a shallow bowl and mound the grilled tomatoes on top.
Serve immediately. Makes 4-5 servings.