The basics of cooking risotto are very very easy. Take rice. Add stock gradually. Stir for 20 minutes. Serve. Enjoy!
Hmm. Let’s take a little bit more time to explore, to be mindful.
Rice: Use only arborio rice(or other Italian risotto rice), otherwise it is not a risotto, it is a rice dish. Arborio has special characteristics (the releasing of its starch) that allow it to become creamy and yummy with constant stirring.
Really, make sure that you have a risotto rice, such as arborio. It is absorbent and becomes creamy on cooking and stirring. Try various arborio rices until you find one that suits you – I used to routinely use an imported Italian brand, then used an Australian brand (Riviana) which was really superior to the one that I had been using, in the creaminess of the final dish. Right at the moment I am experimenting with another Italian brand, good for drier risottos.
Risotto a creamy, moist, flavoursome rice dish, Italian in origin, that is very, very easy to make. It does take around 20 minutes at the stove (stirring). The basis of all risotto dishes is the same.
But, please, do not skimp on the process described below – you shortcut it, and the dish loses some creaminess. It does take 20 minutes, but that time is a beautiful, meditative time where you can think your thoughts and stir your love into the rice.
I once wrote on my old site (I first cooked risotto in 1997):
Finally, most risottos should be served moist, almost like a very thick soup. A dry risotto is not worth eating .
Now I can say that although my favourite is a very moist risotto, in Italy there are types of risotto that are drier, and over the past few months, I have been experimenting with an Italian Rice which is especially for drier risottos. BUT NOT SO DRY IT IS INEDIBLE. In fact it is still a little moist.
Incidentally, Arborio is the name of a village in the Po River Valley in northern Italy, where this variety of rice was first grown.
How to cook Basic Risotto
Source : from my old Food_Matters web site
Prep time: 5 mins
Cooking time: 20 mins
Serves: 4 – 6 people, depending how you use it
2 Tblspn Olive Oil
25 g butter
200 g arborio rice
5 cups simmering light stock or water
a little dry white wine (optional)
Salt and pepper
Have the water or stock (home-made vege stock is ideal), simmering on the stove. A little white wine in the stock is good.
In a separate, heavy-based saucepan, heat the oil and butter. Add the rice and stir to coat with the oil and butter. Stir for 2 minutes until you hear a cracking sound and the rice becomes translucent. Add a ladle of the simmering water or stock, and stir until it is absorbed.
Continue adding more liquid in this manner until the rice is cooked. Taste after 18 minutes. The rice should be firm to the bite. If you like it less chalky, cook for up to another 5 minutes, so that it is tender in the middle, but not soft.
Remove from the heat, add the extra flavourings (see separate recipes coming soon…..). You can add any vegetable that has been pre-cooked – mushrooms, or peas, even beans. Add asparagus, spinach or tomatoes (raw or cooked). Char grilled capsicums. Ruby Red Tomato Bites. Go wild. I once did a char-grilled capsicum and steamed broccoli with pine nuts, because that is what I envisioned when I saw the broccoli in the green grocers.
Stir through a small knob of butter and a large knob of Parmesan cheese, grated. Add salt and pepper. Some people add some cream or creme fraiche, but if you have a good risotto rice, you don’t need this.
Season and stir. Serve.
A risotto with simply some Parmesan cheese, a few herbs tossed through, and a dusting of salt and pepper is a great and simple dish on its own.
That’s it. That’s the basics. Just 20 minutes of stirring. Enjoy!
Read some more:
- My Food Blog has a lovely asparagus and saffron risotto.
- Caramelised Pumpkin Risotto
- Go Spanish – Tomato Paella
- Play Nice with Rice – Cooking Rice
- Risotto Basics 101
- Rizogalo – Greek Rice Pudding
- Steamy Buttery Rice
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