About Risotto


A magnificent, simmering stew of rice, broth, and seasonings, risotto is one of the great dishes of Northern Italy. To make authentic risotto, use an Italian short-grain rice, such as Arborio superfino or Carnaroli. These plump rice have a high starch content, which helps give risotto its characteristically creamy and chewy texture. Also, choose a heavy pan with a non-reactive lining. A thick bottom and sides help distribute heat evenly, and a stainless-steel, anodized aluminum, or enameled lining won't react with acidic ingredients such as tomatoes or wine. Finally, make sure to stir risotto frequently, about every few minutes. Constant stirring should not be necessary as long as you use a heavy pot that diffuses heat evenly.

To ensure a creamy texture, never rinse the rice before cooking. Rinsing will wash away the starch necessary to create risotto's creamy texture. It is also good to ensure that the rice absorbs liquid slowly without getting soggy. Heat butter or oil in the pan and stir in the raw rice over high heat until the rice begins to pop, about 1 minute. This will toast the rice and help the grains maintain their shape.

Always add hot broth to the risotto to ensure that risotto cooks continuously. It's easiest to keep a separate pot of simmering broth on hand. Also, add the broth in small batches of about 1/2 cup.

When testing the doneness of risotto, take a bite. When the rice is done, it will be chewy and resilient. you can also spoon a little of the risotto into a bowl and shake it from side to side. The risotto should spread out very gently. If the rice stays in one place, it's too dry and needs a little more stock. If a puddle forms around the rice, it's too wet. Spoon off some of the liquid, or let the risotto stand for a few minutes to absorb the excess liquid.

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