“Mussels and saffron are united harmoniously in this classic risotto,” says chef Raymond Blanc. “There’s no need for that constant stirring. Instead, the rice is stirred towards the end of the cooking time to activate the starches, a trick you can use with any risotto you make.”

Mussel and saffron risotto
(Chris Terry/PA)
Mussel and saffron risotto
Print Recipe
Nutrition Facts
Mussel and saffron risotto
Amount Per Serving
Calories 627 Calories from Fat 126
% Daily Value*
Fat 14g22%
Saturated Fat 8g50%
Trans Fat 1g
Cholesterol 65mg22%
Sodium 583mg25%
Potassium 767mg22%
Carbohydrates 60g20%
Fiber 4g17%
Sugar 4g4%
Protein 26g52%
Vitamin A 576IU12%
Vitamin C 21mg25%
Calcium 224mg22%
Iron 8mg44%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Mussel and saffron risotto

A speedy seafood and rice dish
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time35 minutes
Total Time50 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: British
Servings: 4
Calories: 627kcal
Author: Raymond Blanc


  • Large bowl
  • Large saucepan
  • Sieve


For the mussels:

  • 1 kg fresh mussels
  • 1 onion
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 thyme sprigs
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 dry white wine

For the risotto:

  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 200 g carnaroli (or arborio) rice
  • 2 bay leaves
  • A couple of pinches of saffron powder or strands
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 2 pinches of sea salt flakes
  • 100 ml dry white wine
  • 300 ml water (or fish stock)

To finish:

  • 50 g Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
  • 2 tsp unsalted butter at room temperature
  • A handful of coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 100 g cooked peas (optional)
  • A handful of baby-leaf spinach (optional)
  • 1/2 lemon for squeezing


  • First, the mussels. Ensure all the mussels are tightly closed and not damaged before you begin to cook; any mussels that are damaged or open should be discarded. The preparation can be done in advance. Wash the mussels in a large bowl and under cold running water.
  • Mussels that float at this stage are not very fresh, so discard them. Remove any barnacles and beards, but don’t scrub the shells as this can end up colouring the cooking juices. Drain.
  • Finely chop the onion and peeled garlic and grate the cheese.
  • In a large saucepan over a medium heat, sweat half the onion, the bay leaves and thyme in the butter for one minute. Increase the heat to high, add the mussels, pour in the wine, cover with a lid and cook for three minutes.
  • Drain in a sieve over a large bowl and discard any mussels that have not opened. Reserve the cooking juices, you will need about 200ml to make the risotto. Once the mussels have cooled, pick the mussels from their shells, leaving a few in their shells for decoration, and put them all aside.
  • Now, to the risotto… Melt the butter in a large saucepan on a medium heat. Add the remaining onion, cover with a lid and cook for two to three minutes, until the onion is translucent. Add the garlic and stir in the rice. Add the bay leaves, saffron and cayenne pepper and lightly season with salt. Stir and continue to cook on a medium heat for two minutes, until the grains of rice are shiny.
  • Pour in the wine and let it boil for 30 seconds – bubble, bubble – and stir. Pour in the mussel cooking liquor and the water or fish stock and stir again. Now cook on the gentlest simmer, with just a single bubble breaking the surface. Cover with a lid and leave for 20 minutes, but it mustn’t boil.
  • Now it’s time for five minutes of some serious and fast stirring. At full speed, stir the risotto. The grains rub against each other, extracting the starch, and this gives the rice its creaminess. Yet every grain remains whole, unbroken. Taste – the rice should have a slight bite.
  • Add the cheese, butter and parsley to the risotto, along with the cooked peas and spinach, if using, all the cooked mussels and a strong squeeze of lemon. Stir, taste and correct the seasoning just before serving.


Calories: 627kcal | Carbohydrates: 60g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 65mg | Sodium: 583mg | Potassium: 767mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 576IU | Vitamin C: 21mg | Calcium: 224mg | Iron: 8mg

Simply Raymond: Recipes From Home by Raymond Blanc is published by Headline Home on April 29. Photography by Chris Terry.

No products found.


You may be interested in…

This article may include affiliate links to products and services where we may receive a small fee to support the running of this site if you make a purchase or is a sponsored article from one of our select editorial partners providing valuable advice and information to our readers.



Recipe Rating

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.