There are thousands of ways to prepare and use risotto, but I will go into detail at the under the recipe as always.
Risotto Bianco – the most basic risotto.
- The proper rice – arborio, carnaroli, or packages that say “risotto rice”
- Chicken Stock – the ratio is at least 2.5 or 3.5 of liquid to 1 of rice
- Diced onion
- Butter and parmesan
- White Wine or dry vermouth is optional but is used often to deglaze
- Get your stock warm in a pot, and keep it at a gentle simmer
- The rest of the instructions will apply to a separate pan. A wide pan is best.
- Add onion and sautée in butter until softened
- Turn heat to med-high and toast the rice – cook until translucent without browning. If you see any browning of the rice, stop and go to next step, but it is not the worst for a couple brown grains
- Deglaze with wine, cook until almost fully evaporated
- I keep my heat 3-4/9 now. Add about 2 ladles of the stock for the first go around, then 1 ladle of stock at a time from there on. Do not add more until it is absorbed.
- Stir at least once a minute, going into the rice is cooked to al dente, 15-20 minutes. If it is not done after 20 minutes from adding the stock, the rice needs to be toasted more and/or the heat needs to be higher.
- **The classic Italian way is Al Dente, but I personally prefer cooked all the way through.
- Add butter and freshly grated parmesan.
More About Risotto
As I stated before, risotto possibilities are endless. Once you have this basic risotto down, you can branch out and do a milanese (which is just adding saffron) use beef stock, add mushrooms, top with pesto; really anything.
My favorite additions: sautée bell peppers or celery with the onions, add crushed tomatoes to stock, top with chicken and/or balsamic reduction.
About the rice: The reason risotto recipes call for certain types of rice is because of their starch content. The creaminess of the end product comes from the rice even before the added butter and parm.
A favorite thing of mine is to make the risotto bianco and then make arancini (fried rice balls) with the leftovers. A post for that will be ready by 08/13 with a link in this spot.
Interesting Fact: During the regime of Mussolini, the wheat and semolina imports to Italy were seen as damaging to self-sufficiency, and the solution was rice. It could be produced domestically, and although the campaign for rice was not fully successful, the many recipes for risotto and free rice given to the people made it more well-known.
Now risotto is a popular Italian dish, with the Croatians and others taking a liking to squid ink risotto among other variants.