Your Mojo for Risotto
Risotto is a traditional Italian rice dish. It is one of the most common ways of cooking rice in Italy. Its origins are in North Italy, where rice paddies are abundant. To be correctly described as a risotto dish, it needs to be made following the established process described below; otherwise the dish is a rice dish. The main feature of a risotto dish is the maintenance of starch at the end of cooking that binds the grains together as a cream
This simple risotto recipe practically cries out for variations. Try adding in your favorite sauteéd mushrooms, some fresh herbs, celery, a handful of spinach or pieces of leftover fish, to make a hearty one-pot meal. This also makes a great appetizer in smaller portions or a great side dish.
1. Bring the 6 cups of low sodium chicken or vegetable broth to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Reduce the heat to low and keep the broth hot.
2. In a separate pan melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium-high heat in the sauté pan. When the foam subsides, add the one medium onion diced (i would dice mine smaller next time) and season it with a light sprinkling of salt and pepper and whatever other addition you like, I used mushrooms and I fried them separately because I didn’t know how moist they would be. Fry very slowly for about 15 minutes without colouring. When the vegetables have softened, add the rice (1 1/2 cups of Arborio or Carnaroli) and turn up the heat. Add the rice and stir until coated with the onions. Cook, stirring once or twice, until the rice turns opaque, 2-4 minutes.
3. The rice will now begin to lightly fry, so keep stirring it. After a minute it will look slightly translucent. Add the vermouth or wine and keep stirring — it will smell fantastic. Any harsh alcohol flavours will evaporate and leave the rice with a tasty essence. Once the vermouth or wine has cooked into the rice, add your first ladle or 1/2 cup of hot stock and a good pinch of salt.
Turn down the heat to a simmer so the rice doesn’t cook too quickly on the outside. Keep adding ladlefuls of stock or 1/2 cup, stirring and almost massaging the creamy starch out of the rice (this is the fun part for me), allowing each ladleful to be absorbed before adding the next. This will take around 15 minutes. Carry on adding stock until the rice is soft but with a slight bite. Taste to see if the rice is cooked–if not, keep doing what you are doing. Don’t forget to check the seasoning carefully. If you run out of stock before the rice is cooked, add some boiling water.
4. Take off the heat and stir in the parmesean, remaining tablespoon of butter, and black pepper to taste. Stir well. Place a lid on the pan and allow to sit for 2 minutes. This is the most important part of making the perfect risotto, as this is when it becomes deliciously creamy and oozy like it should be. Eat it as soon as possible, while the risotto retains its magnificent texture. It does not take long for the texture to change so make sure your family is ready to eat.
Find the recipe under the heading ‘Rice’.