Risotto Question

I have chicken stock that I made that I want to use towards risotto. We keep kosher in my household and so my issue is what do I use in place of any butter, milk, or other dairy products. Would margarine work or is there a better alternative?



I rarely use butter in my risotto, and only when I'm finishing it. If it's a southern-Italian type of dish, you would only use olive oil. If it's a more northern-italian risotto (like a meat-based risotto, for instance), then you would traditionally finish with a little butter. Perfectly fine to just omit the butter and finish with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
WannabeBaker June 28, 2012
OK, so you didn't ask this specifically, but in case you're interested in trying a recipe that makes risotto MUCH easier to make, I thought I would share it with you. It comes from Serious Eats and really works. Basically the idea is to make risotto in a large, shallow frying pan with a lid so that you don't have to stir constantly. I promise, it works. Replace the butter with an equal amount of olive oil. It's a basic recipe - feel free to add whatever ingredients you like.

Yield: Four to six, active time 15 minutes, total time 30 minutes

1 1/2 cups (about 13.5 ounces) risotto-style rice (see note)
1 quart low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup white wine (optional—can be replaced with extra broth)
2 tablespoons butter (plus more for finishing if desired)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium cloves garlic, grated on a microplane grater (about 2 teaspoons)
2 small shallots, finely minced (about 2 tablespoons)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Chopped herbs or other garnishes, as desired


1 Combine rice, chicken stock, and wine in a large bowl. Agitate rice
with fingers or a whisk to release starch. Strain through a fine mesh
strainer set in a 2-quart liquid cup measure or other large bowl.
Allow to drain five minutes, stirring rice occasionally.

2 Heat butter and oil in a heavy 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat
until foaming subsides. Add rice and cook, stirring and tossing
frequently until all liquid is evaporated, fat is bubbling, and rice
has begun to take on a golden blond color and nutty aroma, about 5
minutes. Add garlic and shallots and continue to cook, stirring
frequently until aromatic, about 1 minute. Give reserved broth a good
stir and pour all but one cup over the rice. Increase heat to high and
heat until simmering. Stir rice once, cover, and reduce heat to lowest
possible setting.

3 Cook rice for ten minutes undisturbed. Stir once, shake pan gently
to redistribute rice, cover, and continue cooking until liquid is
mostly absorbed and rice is tender with just a faint bite, about 10
minutes longer.

4 Remove lid and add final cup of liquid. Increase heat to high and
cook, stirring and shaking rice constantly until thick and creamy.
Season to taste with salt and pepper and stir in herbs as desired.
Serve immediately on hot plates.

BurgeoningBaker June 28, 2012
Thank you all for your replies. I'm sorry I didn't reply until now. I've sorta been all over the place in the last few weeks. I'll give it a try perhaps this weekend. I could buy chicken fat, but I would really like to learn how to make my own schmaltz from a whole bird to the finished ready to use product. I have yet to find a video that is straightforward about it all.
BurgeoningBaker June 22, 2012
I'm using the chicken stock because I have loads of it from a chicken and I'm trying to free up some space in our freezer. I'm not using shmaltz because it isn't readily available and I'd rather keep it as healthy as I can.. thus the oil question. The question still remains how much oil would I use in place of butter or some other fat.?
chefsusie June 22, 2012
Did you get my email? Well for 1 1/2 cups of rice you would use 2-3 Tbsp of oil. This would also be for sauteeing a small amount of onions. (1/4 cup). If no onion, I would say 1-2 TBS.
pierino June 22, 2012
The amount of stock is far more important than the amount of lipid. If you are using olive oil, no more than 1/4 cup. You just want to get the rice turning transparent (you are not frying it). After that it's the standard ratio of 2 parts liquid to 1 part stock. And the finished dish should be wet and slide on a plate. Too bad you don't have chicken fat because it would taste really good. Save grapeseed oil for when you do need to fry something.
ChefJune June 22, 2012
If you're using chicken stock, why not also use schmaltz? It would lend a lovely mouthfeel, not to mention flavor. Since you're starting out with the fat, I wouldn't use olive oil. I'd choose an oil with a higher flashpoint, like rice bran or grapeseed.
BurgeoningBaker June 22, 2012
I have no schmaltz. I've never made risotto before. What is the ratio for substitution between OO and butter?
pierino June 22, 2012
Margerine? Ick! If you have to keep kosher substitute olive oil. Or maybe even better, schmaltz. You don't need a high smoke point for your lipid when making risotto.
chefsusie June 22, 2012
I use olive oil, primarily, and only a snippet of butter. (You can omit the butter, I only use it for flavor) I am a fitness chef, and my clients are always looking to increase the nutrition in their meals and aim for healthy fats. Sometimes, I use grapeseed oil.
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