A friend is having a dinner party and serving grilled shrimp w/pesto. She also wants to serve a risotto but wants to know if she can make the risotto ahead of time and just reheat it before serving. I thought this sounded like a no-no but my only attempt at risotto was unsuccessful so I can't really give advice!

Does anyone have an alternative make ahead side dish? Or great risotto making tips? Thanks!



dymnyno August 8, 2013
For a very large dinner party I once made a baked risotto that I think was a Martha Stewart recipe. It was not at all traditional but it could be made ahead of time and saved a lot of work and anxiety on the day of the dinner.
ChefJune August 8, 2013
There are no shortcuts to TRUE risotto. and even some Italian restaurants make it only to order. Being a "risotto purist," I would advise your friend to choose a different side. A perfectly luscious rice pilau can be made ahead (even in the oven!) and reheated with no ill effects.
The best advice I can offer on making risotto is to have patience. And you will be rewarded. :)
alygator August 8, 2013
Thank you all so much! I knew you would all know what to do! I will pass all your tips along. However, I am thinking that I no longer need to fear risotto. Perhaps I will add it to MY menu at my next dinner party!
PazzoNico August 8, 2013
The trick to make-ahead risotto (like we do in restaurants) is to basically throw out all the rules for risotto. Begin as usual, oil, shallot (or whatever you're using), toast the rice, add wine, and then add (all at once) about half the liquid needed and DON'T stir too much; you're just par-cooking the rice. The stirring releases the starches from the rice (which, yes, you want in risotto made a la minute), but when it cools, it gets very gummy. And remember, spread it flat on a sheet-pan and keep in mind that it will continue to cook a little. Resist the temptation to stir until you finish it for service. At that point, add a little stock/water and stir, stir, stir. Kill the heat and add cold butter/olive oil and parmigiano/pecorino and stir the HELL out of it. Serve.
Another tip: though arborio is the most common choice for risotto, try to find vialone nano or at least carnaroli; they hold their shape better with extended cooking.
Beatrice,Romeo August 7, 2013
What she can do is, cook the base of the risotto ahead. Thats what we do in a commercial kitchen. She cooks the base, actually 1/2 cooked. And then prior to diner, she just finish off the cooking by adding morw stock, whatever filling she wants, and cheese at the very end. It'll take next to no time at all, and be the perfect risotto.
pierino August 7, 2013
What restaurants do is to cook it half way and then hold it in a hotel pan. Finish it when you come close to service. Remember it should be wet when it's plated.
alygator August 7, 2013
Thank you!!
Declan August 7, 2013
While risotto is reputed to be "difficult" to get right the rules are simple.
1. Use 1part rice to 4 parts stock
2. Never add cold stock ... Cooking liquid should be heated before adding to the rice mix
3. Cooking time for risotto is 17 to 18 minutes

I was recently asked to prepare risotto for 200 people. Rather than stand watching the rice, I chose to cook it in the oven. The result was very good. Simply add the heated stock in three stages, as its absorbed, and check periodically. If stovetop space is an issue, this is the answer
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