Hints and Tips When Making Risotto:
Read all the ingredients of
your recipe for risotto, and measure, prepare, and assemble all ingredients
in advance of cooking. Place them close to the stove before you begin.
Always serve risotto in preheated plates or in warm shallow bowls.
Types of Rice Used in Making Risotto:
Use only Italian short-grain
rice varieties such as Aroborio, Carnaroli, Vialone, Nano, and
Baldo (Arborio is the most commonly found short-grain rice).
Short-grain rice has a high starch content and tends to absorb
less liquid, resulting in a stickier, more compact risotto.
- is a pearly, round medium grain rice that is
readily available in the United States. Its outer
coating contains the highest starch level of any
Italian variety, which ensures creamy texture in
Carnaroli (car-noh-ROE-lee) - often
referred to as the caviar of rice. It is the variety
most preferred by chefs. It is known for superior
flavor and distinctive creaminess, but its window
for achieving perfect doneness is smaller than with
the other varieties.
Vialone Nano (vee-ah-LOW-nah-no) - This
rice is grown in the Veneto region of Italy and is
required to be produced without chemical treatments
of any kind. It is small (nano means "dwarf"), fine,
and pearly. This variety is less ticky and less
forgiving than other varieties.
NEVER wash the rice. Every bit of the rice starch helps make risotto creamy.
Toasting the Rice:
Cooking the rice in hot butter or oil before adding liquid helps the
rice to absorb the liquids slowly with becoming soggy. This is called "Toasting the Rice."
Toasting the rice quickly heats up the grain's exterior (toast until
the rice is hot to the touch and the color should remain pearly white, not turn brown.
Cooking Liquid (Broth, Stock and/or Water):
The quantity of liquid suggested in the recipes is always
approximate. In actual cooking, you should be prepared to use more,
or sometimes less, as the risotto itself requires.
the flavors that the cooking liquid starts out with become more
concentrated and intense as it evaporates. Bearing that in mind,
when the recipe requires broth, you will use a fine, mild beef
or chicken broth. It is always better to use homemade broth or
stock, but if you don't have the time (like most of us), don't
worry! Swanson's Organic Chicken and Beef broths are great for
It is important to add hot
stock, not cold, to the rice during the cooking process. Adding
cold broth to hot rice results in a hard, uncooked kernel in the center of the grain.
broth ready, at a low simmer in a covered saucepan before beginning to make your risotto.
Add approximately 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup, at
the beginning, and decreasing the amount to 1/2 to 1/4 cup
toward the end of the cooking process. Adding too much broth at
the end can result in overcooked risotto. Keep the broth
simmering slowly while you add it to the rice. This helps
maintain a constant cooking temperature.
Run your wooden spoon across
the bottom of the pot to determine when each addition of broth is almost completely absorbed.
When cooking with
broth, if you have used up the broth before the rice is fully
cooked, continue with simmering water.
Water is the best choice for seafood risotto. Liquids that
come from the ingredients in the flavor base should be retained,
such as the juices released by clams or mussels.
The water used to
reconstitute dried mushrooms, and the vegetable flavored liquid left
from the preliminary blanching of asparagus and other greens can
also be used.
may be added, but it must not be the sole liquid used.
Wines should always be
a drinkable quality.
Cooking the Risotto:
Begin tasting the rice about
14 to 16 minutes after the first cup of broth is added.
rice until it is "al dente," or the tooth still finds a little
bit of resistance when it bites in when you chew. It shouldn't
be rock hard in the center and mushy on the outside.
amount of cooking time may vary within 2 to 3 minutes. Perfectly
cooked risotto should not be hard and stick to the serving
spoon, nor should it be so liquid that it runs off your plate.
The texture should be supple and fluid, with a creamy, slightly
soupy consistency, but with body.
Vegetables, Seafoods and/or Meats:
Add any vegetables, seafood,
or meat, which cook quickly, when the risotto is only a few
minutes away from al dente.
Perfect creamy mouth-watering risotto.
How to make risotto ahead of time
technique, that is used by restaurant chefs, you never have to stand at the
stove, stirring, for 20 minutes while your guests wonder where you have gone.
You can make any kind of risotto you want using the below method.
Try Linda's great risotto recipes:
Lemon Wild Rice Risotto
Risotto with Chives and Truffle Oil
Risotto with Corn, Tomatoes, and Basil
Risotto with Poached Pears
In Italy, risotto is serve mounded,
steaming hot, in the center of warmed individual shallow bowls.
Among the myths
associated with risotto, there is the one that you must eat it
piping hot, as it comes from the pot!
Unlike pasta, risotto tastes
better when it has rested on your plate a minute or so. When
Italians are served risotto, they often spread it on their plate
from the center toward the rim, to dissipate some of the steam.
Using a fork or a spoon, push the grains of cooked rice out slightly
toward the edge of the bowl, eating only from the pulled out ring of
Continue spreading from the center and eating around the edges
in a circle. This will keep the risotto hot as you enjoy your