Risotto, a dish from northern Italy,is simple food at its best. The basic recipe is made by gradually stirring hot stock into rice and softened onions until all the stock has been absorbed and the risotto is creamy with firm (al dente), separate rice grains. It is easy to prepare, the secrets being the choice of rice, the quality of the stock, and constant stirring. A basic risotto can be embellished with fish, shellfish, meat, chicken, or vegetables.
How to excel risotto
- Choose a wide, heavy bottomed pan that will be large enough to hold the cooked rice as well as all of the other ingredients.
- Only use risotto rice. The medium short, stubby grains absorb liquid and swell up while retaining their individual shape.
- Always use a good, well flavored stock chicken, fish, or vegetable, depending on the type of risotto.
- Keep the stock at a gentle simmer, and the rice at a lively simmer.
- Stir constantly throughout the cooking process to release the starch in the rice and give the risotto the desired creamy texture.
Cooking easy, basic and simple risotto recipe
A basic risotto creamy, but with separate grains of rice.
Ingredients you need
- 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 5 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 onion or 2 shallots, minced
- 1½ cups risotto rice vialone nano,
- arborio, or carnaroli
- ⅓ cup dry white wine
- ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan
Step by step directions
Heat the stock in a saucepan to a gentle simmer. Meanwhile, heat the oil and half the butter in a wide, heavy pan. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the rice and stir to coat the grains well with the fat.
Add the wine and boil, stirring, until absorbed. Add a ladleful of simmering stock and stir until absorbed. Continue adding stock by the ladleful, stirring, until the rice is tender but retains a bite. This will take 20 to 25 minutes in all.
Stir in the remaining butter and the Parmesan. Season to taste and remove from the heat. Cover the pan and let the risotto rest for 2 minutes before serving..
Risotto rules - tips and triks
Precisely why risotto is so wildly popular is not hard to define. Delicious and easy to prepare, it is perfect for a weekday supper or a relaxing dinner with friends. Elegant, without being complex, risotto is the ultimate comfort food rich, filling and nourishing to the soul. Versatility is one of its greatest virtues. Risotto's creamy texture provides the perfect backdrop for simple or exotic ingredients that can change with the seasons. In the summer, stir in fresh berries for a sweet and tart breakfast risotto. In the fall, try an earthy wild mushroom risotto. Winter is perfect for butternut squash risotto. Be stirred by the notion of endlessly versatile risotto, the simple little rice dish that's a big time feel good food.
- Risotto is best when made with rice that has a high level of amyl pectin starch, such as U.S. Arborio or medium grain rice. The starch in these grains absorbs flavors easily and takes on a creamy texture when cooked properly.
- Choose a heavy pan with a thick bottom and sides to help distribute heat evenly. Make sure it is large enough to hold the cooked rice (rice will expand to about three times its original size).
- Rice used in risotto should never be rinsed. Rinsing removes starch, which is what gives risotto its wonderful creamy consistency.
- Sautéing rice in butter or oil creates a shell around each grain, allowing the grain to slowly absorb moisture. This will result in creamy risotto, where each grain maintains its own shape.
- If you plan to add wine to your risotto, do so before adding the broth. This helps burn off the alcohol, leaving only the wine's more subtle flavor. A simple, dry wine works best.
- For best results use homemade broth. During cooking, the broth will reduce, intensifying its flavors and those of any added seasonings, especially salt. Canned broth flavor can be improved by simmering 30 minutes with onion, celery, carrot, parsley, and garlic. Strain before adding to risotto.
- Broth should be at a simmer when adding to the rice. Hot broth keeps the temperature at a more constant level, ensuring even, continuous cooking and serves as the melding agent, releasing the rice's starch and making it creamy.
- Broth should be added one cup at a time, allowing time for the broth to be fully absorbed before adding more. It's the gradual addition of broth and slow cooking that helps produce the creamy result unique to risotto.
- Risotto should continue to simmer during cooking. Adjust heat if necessary. If heat is too high or too low, the broth will either evaporate or will not be absorbed by the rice.
- Risotto should be stirred often. Stirring keeps the grains in contact with the liquid for even cooking, prevents the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pan, and dislodges surface starch from the rice into the liquid, causing it to thicken.
- Quick cooking additions such as shrimp or zucchini should be added at the end.
- Risotto is done when the rice is al dente creamy, yet firm in the center. Never let rice dry out when making risotto. For a creamy texture, the rice should always from start to finish be kept under a veil of broth.