Making Basic Risotto
- Published on April 15 2011
- Written by David Blackburn (All Rights Reserved)
Risotto is a creamy Italian rice dish that is normally served as a first course. We make ours with Aborio rice and always with a home canned vegetable, beef, chicken or fish stock.
We absolutely recommend a flat, wooden (pan) spatula and a pan that has a well-rounded transition between the bottom and sidewallls.
From the time you begin making sofrito (in this basic recipe we use only onions), it's very important to stir by gentlly scraping the bottom of the pan using a flat wooden spatuala and folding over to the side when turning, moving down the sidewalls and across the pan. This movement should be determined and never brusque or blunt, but gracious and caress-like. This caress permits the rice to evenly absorb the liquid and sofrito evenly and must be constantly done for the full 20 minute cooking time. At the end of the 20 minutes, the even heat distribution and thorough absorption of liquid causes the rice to leach some of its starch, making the risotto naturally creamy (see photo of roasted asparagus and toasted almond risotto to the left).
If you stop caressing during this 20 minute cooking time the risotto will not be creamy. Please ignore ALL DISTRACTIONS, plan to not answer the phone or leave the stove. We recommend having the prep work done before guests arrive, but not start the cooking until everyone is present so it can be served when at the moment it's finished.
If you wish to add a little color, you may include red bell peppers with your sofrito or when adding fish including a pinch of saffron when you begin adding the stock. When adding meat, poultry, fish or vegetables, they should be precooked and folded in at the end, along with grated Parmesan and butter for final warming. We find this dish to be an excellent way to use leftovers.
|4 people||6 people||8 people|
|Alborio Rice, Rinsed and Drained||1-1/2 cups
||2-1/2 cups||3 cups|
|Heated Chicken Stock, Beef Stock, Fish Stock or Vegetable Stock
||3 cups||4-1/2 cups||6 cups|
|Dry White Cooking Wine
||1/2 cup||1 cup||1-1/2 cups|
|Medium White Onion, minced
|Extra Virgin Olive Oil
||1-1/2 Tbsp.||2 Tbsp.|
|Salt||1/2 tsp.||1 tsp.||1-1/2 tsp.|
||1/2 tsp.||1 tsp.||1-1/2 tsp.|
|Butter||1-1/2 Tbsp.||2-1/4 Tbsp.||3 Tbsp.|
|Parmesan Cheese, Grated||1/2 cup
||3/4 cup||1 cup|
Before beginning have all prep work done and the stock simmering in a separate pan.
Make certain stock is warm on stovetop.
Heat olive oil and sauté onions with salt and pepper over medium heat until translucent (about 5 minutes).
Add the rice.
Turn up heat.
Fold as described above for one minute, letting the rice become opaque.
Add the wine.
Turn the heat down to a medium heat - high enough so the liquid reduces, but low enough to avoid scorching the rice.
Begin folding rice as described above.
When wine is absorbed, set a timer for 20 minutes.
Reduce heat to medium low.
Add the stock one ladle at a time, gently folding the rice away from the side and bottom of the pan.
Let the rice completely absorb the liquid and then add another ladle. You will add liquid frequently in the beginning and less often towards the end.
If the liquid is being absorbed too quickly or sense the rice is going to stick to the bottom of the pan, reduce the heat.
If the liquid is not being absorbed, increase the heat slightly.
Continue adding the stock one ladle at a time. Do not leave the stove, but continue folding the rice to absorb the liquid evenly.
The rice will begin getting darker and creamy after 10 minutes.
Continue folding and ladling in the stock, making certain each ladle-full is completely absorbed before adding another.
After 20 minutes, taste two or three grains of rice. It should be soft and not at all crunchy. Continue folding and adding liquid until the rissotto is soft.
Remove from heat.
Fold butter and Parmesan evenly into risotto. If adding cooked meat or vegetables, do so at this time.
Cover and let the risotto rest for 5 minutes before serving.