tips for making risotto :)
1) Let the rice cook in oil for a few minutes before you begin adding liquid.
2) Add liquid a little at a time, and stir almost constantly. You'll notice the creamy base building up early on!
3) Use medium low heat to get the best texture.
4) Don't lose patience. That's the hardest part for me! Risotto takes a while to build, but the time and effort is so worth it! Good luck!
Risotto take practice . . try other rices beside arborio . . . I feel most arbroio in the country is not very good quality. In Italy, the best risottos are made from Carnaroli, not arborio. I tend to use short grain Japanese rice, such as Nishiki. I even use Nishiki brown rice to be different. But practice is the best!
The instructions that turned my risotto making around from sticky - icky to creamy were:
1. Use a heavy bottomed pan
2. Cook rice in oil or butter before adding liquid until the kernels show some translucency
3. When adding liquid, a little bit at a time, make sure the liqued is hot, not cold. I keep it simmering on the stove in a separate pot.
4. This is not a quick dish - slow and stirring constantly is the way to go.
One thing to keep in mind is that "risotto" is a cooking method (which is why you can make risotto out of any grain you choose, even though most of us think about starchy medium grain rice varieties). In addition to the tips above, a few more include: add aromatics at the beginning while sauteeing the rice (things like onion, garlic, celery), use excellent quality stock as your liquid (I like chicken, vegetable is also good), make sure your cooking liquid is hot (adding cold liquid stops the cooking process), stirr, stir, stir and stir some more (stirring releases the starches, its the starches that create the lovely creaminess), when your rice is just al dente, remove from heat, add a bit more liquid and a generous handful of cheese (I like parmesan reggiano, but it depends on what you are adding to your risotto)--let the rice rest for about 5 minutes then serve immediately. Yes, it is possible to hold risotto for longer, but really this dish is best enjoyed straight away.
This is a little unconventional, but it works well (we tested it 8 times so far just to be sure). If you don't have time to stir and add liquid over and over, you can add 2.5 to 3x the amount of liquid to rice, bring to boiling, reduce to a simmer. Stir at 30 minutes, 35 and 40 minutes. The rice will give up it's starch and become creamy just as if you stood at the stove stirring and adding liquid the using the traditional risotto method. Then add a tbs of cream, pat of butter and parmesan to finish. Different technique, but same results.
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