Saffron Rice Pilaff with Shrimp

This Christmas I received the most thoughtful gift from my friend Janet. She gave me a beautiful little container for saffron, some saffron, and a collection of recipes for saffron — such a great idea! Here is one of the recipes that I found really fun to cook — especially for a crowd.


  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 celery stalks or 1 small bulb fennel, trimmed and chopped
  • 3 large tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 1-1/2 cups long-grain white rice
  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads, crushed and steeped in 1/4 cup hot water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cups fish or chicken stock
  • 4 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


Put the butter in a large frying pan over medium-high heat, when it is hot but not colored, add the shrimp and cook, turning with tongs, until the shrimp are just pink, about 2 minutes. Take the shrimp out and put in a bowl to cool.

Into the frying pan, put the onions and cook stirring for about 5 minutes until soft, add the garlic and cook another minute. Add the white wine and cook another minute. Stir in the celery and tomatoes. Stir in the rice and coat with the vegetable mixture. Add the saffron in its liquid, the stock, salt and pepper. Bring the mixture to the boil, reduce the heat, and simmer gently, covered for about 20 minutes, until all the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is cooked through.

Meanwhile, peel the shrimp. When the rice is cooked, stir in the shrimp and the parsley, being careful not to stir too much or the rice will break. Cover and let sit 5 minutes.