Italian Yellow Rice

October 24, 2022

3 min read


The perfect side dish.

Excerpted from Cooking alla Giudia by Benedetta Jasmine Guetta (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2022. Photographs by Ray Kachatorian.

This rice, a specialty of the cities of Ferrara and Venice, is usually prepared for Shabbat, and it is believed to be the predecessor of risotto alla milanese. It is similar to traditional Italian risotto, but it differs slightly as it lacks cheese and butter. It makes a perfect side dish to most roasts and stews. In particular, it nicely complements both stracotto and brasato, which can be found in Cooking alla Giudia. Read more about the cookbook and get more Jewish Italian recipes here.

Food4Thought: Did you know that the Kabbalah says that eating is a powerful spiritual act? It teaches that mindful eating helps to elevate the entire food chain. Get more Jewish food thoughts here.

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Serves 4


  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, cut into very small dice
  • 2 cups (400 g) Carnaroli or Arborio rice
  • 1 cup (240 ml) dry white wine
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 cups (1 L) chicken broth, homemade or store-bought, or as needed
  • 3 pinches saffron threads or 1 packet saffron powder


  1. Pour the olive oil into a large saucepan set over medium heat, add the diced onion, and cook until softened and translucent, about 5 minutes.
  2. Stir in the rice and cook, stirring, for about 3 minutes, to toast it nicely. Add the wine, season with the salt, and stir constantly until the wine has evaporated, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add half of the broth and the saffron, turn the heat to high, and bring the broth to a simmer, then lower the heat to maintain a steady simmer. Once the broth has evaporated, add the remaining broth and continue stirring until the rice is very creamy; taste a couple grains of rice to be sure it is cooked perfectly—it should be soft but not at all mushy. If the rice is still a bit crunchy, add more water a little at a time and continue to cook and stir for another couple of minutes. When the rice is done, remove it from the heat.
  4. Transfer the rice to a baking dish and let it come to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate. The rice can be reheated on a hot plate as needed on Friday night or at Saturday lunchtime, and it can also be served at room temperature with a spoonful of plain tomato sauce or with pan juices from a roast.
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