Risotto Rice

Risotto is an Italian dish that requires a lot of time and skill to prepare. The most important ingredient in making a risotto is the rice. Not all kinds of rice can be used for making this dish.
Tastessence Staff
Risotto is a classic Italian dish that is made with a special type of rice, chicken or vegetable broth, and Parmesan cheese. It has a rich creamy texture that cannot be replicated in any other dish. Cooking risotto requires perfect timing and patience and also good cooking technique.

The star ingredient in risotto is of course the rice. You need a short grained rice with a good starch content to give the risotto its unique texture. Some of the best rice for making risottos are carnaroli, vialone nano, and arborio. Carnaroli is expensive and it might be a little hard for you to find it in your local supermarket. Arborio is the most common type of risotto rice and it is widely available. It is a short grained rice which is round and is best suited for first time risotto cooks as it is hard to overcook it. Avoid using long grained rice like Jasmine rice and basmati for making risottos as they do not contain the right amount of starch and the grains will remain separate and you will not get the creaminess required.

How to Make Risotto

To make the basic risotto you will need the following ingredients.
  • Chicken stock, 1½ l.
  • Butter, 2 tbsp.
  • Risotto rice, 1½ cups
  • Olive oil, 2 tbsp.
  • Onion, 1 large (chopped)
  • Garlic, 2 cloves (finely chopped)
  • Celery, ¼ cup (finely chopped)
  • Dry white wine, 2 cups
  • Parmesan cheese, ¼ cup (freshly grated)
Method

In a large pot, heat the chicken stock over a low flame and let it simmer. In another pan, heat the butter and olive oil together. Now add the finely chopped onions, garlic, and celery and fry them very slowly at low heat. Stir continuously with a wooden spoon until the vegetables have softened and the onions have turned translucent. Take care not to overcook the onions and turn them golden brown. Now add the rice into the pan and lightly fry, stirring continuously. Make sure that all the rice grains are coated with butter and oil and cook them in this way for a minute until the rice turns translucent. Pour in the dry white wine at this point and keep stirring the rice. After some time the alcohol will evaporate leaving the rice with a tasty flavor and aroma.

When the dry white wine has been absorbed by the rice, add a ladle of hot stock into the rice. Turn down the heat and cook the rice in a low flame so that it does not quick too quickly. Add salt into the rice and wait till all the stock has been absorbed. Keep on adding the stock into the rice, one ladleful at a time and make sure that you wait till each ladle is fully absorbed before adding the next. By this time the risotto will turn creamy as the rice will give out all the starch.

When the rice is soft and still is a little chewy inside, remove the pan from heat and stir in a bit of butter and the grated Parmesan cheese. Stir again to combine it well and then place a lid on the pan. Allow it to sit undisturbed for 2 to 3 minutes and serve immediately.

Grilled Mushroom Risotto

Ingredients
  • Chicken stock, 6 cups
  • Olive oil, 2 tbsp.
  • Celery, ¼ cup (finely chopped)
  • Risotto rice, 1½ cups
  • Onion, 1 large (chopped)
  • Dry white wine, 1 cup
  • Porchini mushroom, 1 cup (dried)
  • Mushrooms (shitake and oyster), 3 cups (sliced)
  • Parsley, a handful (chopped)
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Butter, 1 tbsp.
  • Extra virgin olive oil, 2 tbsp.
Method

Heat the chicken stock in a saucepan and let it simmer over low heat. Place the dried porchini mushroom in a small bowl and pour hot stock over it. After a few minutes, remove the porchini mushrooms from the stock and slice them into small pieces.

Heat a large frying pan and add the olive oil. Fry the chopped onions and celery over medium heat until they become soft. Add the rice and sauté till they turn translucent. Pour in the dry white wine and allow the alcohol to get absorbed by the rice. Now pour the hot chicken stock in the rice one ladle at a time and also stir in the sliced porcini. Carry on adding the chicken stock to the rice till all the stock has been used.

Grill the oyster and shitake mushroom in a griddle pan until they are soft and browned. Place the grilled mushrooms in a bowl and add the chopped parsley, lemon juice, and a bit of salt. Keep the mushroom aside.

When the risotto is done, take it off the heat and stir in the butter and Parmesan cheese, place the lid over the pan and let it stand for 2 minutes. To serve, place the risotto in a plate and top it with grilled mushroom and extra shavings of Parmesan cheese and a good drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

The calorie content of risotto is about 348 per 100 g. of rice. Always serve the risotto immediately or it will turn hard and tasteless. You can also prepare risotto pudding by making a few changes in the basic recipe.