Risotto seems to be a complicated recipe but not until you get to know its secrets. Dare to read these 5 tips on how to make the perfect risotto post!
If you have been cooking risotto for a while now, perhaps, you know the parts where you fail the most. Based on my previous experiences, it was with the rice I had failed.
We all know that risotto is comfort food and should not be an intimidating recipe. But, a lot of people consider cooking this a hit or miss. But, of course, we’ll never master and perfect the cooking process unless we fail and learn from it.
Worry no more, find out where you need to practice by checking out these 5 tips and be an expert real soon:
#5 Choose the Right Kind of Grain
Today, risotto is not just a recipe for the Italians but for everyone across the world.
This elegant dish has paved its way from Italy to various parts of the globe, making it one of the most sought-after recipes.
However, not every short-grain rice is good for risotto because this Italian recipe calls for high-starch, short-grain, rice. Risotto is particularly sensitive when it comes to the kind of rice you use.
Yup, some people may say that you can use any kinds of short-grain rice for risotto but then, this dish requires a suitable grain if you want to achieve perfection.
There are different kinds of short-grain rice that are good for risotto such as Arborio, Carnaroli, and Vialone Nano.
Arborio is more popular and is widely used for this recipe. However, the kind of rice to use for risotto actually depends on where you are from.
So, people from Italy and other parts of Europe can debate over which type of grains to use but each of them has its own unique texture when cooked.
Carnaroli, on the other hand, is more preferred in most parts of Italy because of its creamiest texture. In fact, it was hailed as the “King” of all kinds of rice in Italy.
Vialone Nano comes next to Carnaroli when it comes to its resistance to overcooking.
This type of grain is more popular in the Veneto region. It’s also creamy in texture and can absorb more liquid and grows double its size.
White rice is actually a more popular grain, however, some risotto recipes also use brown rice for a healthy alternative. It may not taste as luxurious as the given rice grains above, but it sure does keep your body full of essential nutrients.
#4 Keep an eye on your stock
Did you know that risotto highly depends on the kind of stock you use?
There are plenty of risotto recipes you can try at home and in order to achieve the perfect recipe, you must consider the stock to use.
The broth you will be using will define your risotto so you have to be very careful in choosing the flavor. You can use chicken stock or porcini broth. Some popular risotto recipes also use seafood broth for extra flavor.
These broths will give you a nice twist on your risotto without overpowering the entire dish. Another thing to consider when adding broth is to do it slowly and gradually.
Never put your broth all at one time. You have to do it slow and gradual until the grains are tender. Make sure your broth is not cold or too hot, just below simmering.
A gentle simmer is also a major key in making the perfect broth to your risotto.
What Kinds of Broth to Use?
If you have plenty of time, you can make your broth from scratch and save the extras for your next or other recipes. However, if you don’t have much time, then you can buy ready-made broth, they can do justice to your risotto too!
#3 Know your Texture
Risotto is popular for its creaminess and simplicity. I want my risotto creamy but then, there are different kinds of risotto texture served elsewhere.
Some might like it soupy, some with various fusion, while some are extra rich and creamy.
Others prefer the dry yet sticky texture. It all depends on what we like and how we like to cook it.
Before you start preparing for your risotto dish, you must have a clear picture in your mind of what kind of texture you want to achieve.
You can notice the texture changing as you go along cooking. With this, you should be careful of the temperature you will be using.
Cooking risotto should be done in a slow manner and low-simmering heat. You don’t want to overcook the grains and get a super-sticky risotto!
#2 Add the extra ingredients at the end
We all have different ideas of how our risottos would look like after cooking.
Risotto topped with greens, cheese and lots of other good stuff! This is what I imagine my risotto would be.
Some people prefer to add some proteins on their risotto. If you do, you should be keen on where to add them in cooking.
Although, risotto is a simple dish, it has many versions out there even from big names in the industry.
However, famous Chefs suggest that you should add all the extra ingredients like chicken, lobsters, or mushrooms, at the end.
Doing so will not affect the original taste and texture of your risotto. Unlike when adding these ingredients onset and in the middle of the process, these extras will greatly affect the taste, texture, and consistency of risotto.
However, if you add them at the end, these extras will get their own spotlight when eaten. Adding them while cooking will actually overwhelm the overall risotto flavor and even confuse your tastebuds.
Plus, adding the veggies and proteins while cooking will give you a hard time folding the rice thoroughly. This will result in either an overcooked or undercooked risotto.
#1 Don’t Keep on Stirring it
I guess this is where we all messed up! We usually tend to stir the rice every now and then, simply because we cannot help ourselves from staring at its beauty or we see that it needs a bit of stirring.
However, stirring risotto frequently is not actually good. Although, some stir it in the hope to release more starch from the rice.
Stirring it actually affects the texture and consistency of the risotto. If you keep on stirring it, you might get close to the powder-like texture and that won’t be a good risotto.
What Should be done?
You only need to gently fold the rice back and forth and not overwork it by continuous stirring. Let the simmering heat do the job.
When it simmers, the grains create friction by rubbing against each other and release starch. The starch released by the grains will become the binder.
This is why cooking risotto on high temp will force the rice to release the starch right away and tend to be stickier. Adding butter at the end will also create a glazy texture. You can cut the butter into small, cold cubes and fold it gently.
Those 5 tips are the crucial parts you should consider. They practically make up most of the major cooking parts.
Below are the other bonus tips you can think about, the next time you plan on cooking risotto. This first one is also something to note for:
- Use a heavy-duty pan when making your risotto so you have more room to cook and avoid sticking it at the bottom. For other cooking option, you can also use a rice cooker to cook risotto like a one-pot dish.
Rice cookers have more room compared to pans and keep your liquid or stock from spilling over. Plus, some rice cookers have a non-stick inner cooking pot which is great for cooking risotto.
Rice Cooker for Cooking Risotto?
Why not? Many modern rice cookers today are offering multifunctional settings which allow us to cook various meals with this device alone.
You don’t have to invest in buying a lot of kitchen appliances, you only need a few or even just the rice cooker alone. Risotto is just one of the many dishes you can cook in a rice cooker. Some other dishes that seem complicated is better cooked in a rice cooker.
What Rice Cooker to Use?
One of the most versatile rice cookers I have come across is the Zojirushi NS-ZCC10. Zojirushi NS-ZCC10 features a neuro fuzzy-logic technology where you can experience a customized way of cooking.
To make it plain and simple, this technology cooks like a real human and with real human intervention, but in fact, it uses microcomputer brains.
This technology adjusts its heating and cooking time according to the grain and amount of water you have used.
Apart from this modern and mind-blowing technology, this device offers cooking different kinds of rice grains and recipes. And yes, you are right, risotto is one of them!
Zojirushi NS-ZCC10 is perfect for beginners who don’t have much experience in cooking because they will feel appreciated because this ‘genius’ gadget was able to make them experts!
- Rounded inner cooking pan and heating system for even heating
- 2 Settings Programmable Delay timer
- Large Easy-to-Read color LCD display
- Programmable melody or sound indicator
- 3 reheating options: Automatic keep warm, extended keep warm and reheating cycle
- Cooks white (softer or harder, regular/sushi), mixed, sweet, brown, porridge, semi-brown, rinse-free and quick cooking
- Easy to carry handle (fold-down option)]
- Accessories include: a spatula holder and 2 measuring cups (for regular and rinse-free rice)
Other Tips to Consider
- Season as you go! Never put too much salt while cooking the rice, just add enough salt to taste and add a bit more when you reach the end part.
- Make small servings only. Unless you are cooking for a big group like a family gathering. Otherwise, you can cook enough amount for the given meal. The cooked risotto that is well-kept and stored stays for about 5 days. But most experts say that it’s best to it within 3 days only especially if your risotto contains meat, sausage, and tomatoes.
- For adding wines, make sure to add the wine you are familiar with or you are mostly drinking. For the mushroom risotto, you can pair it with red wine while seafood risotto is best when paired with white wine. Remember, if you don’t drink the wine, then better not add it to your risotto!
- Know when to use butter and oil. If you cook seafood risotto, it is best to use cooking oil. For vegetable-based risottos, butter would be a perfect choice. Avoid using olive oil since it causes rice grains to separate and might lose some flavor.
- Cook risotto in less than 20 minutes. Do not overcook and overdo it.
To better apply this knowledge and tips, you can also watch this video on how to master cooking risotto!
There you have it ladies and gents! We have finally deciphered the mystery of cooking risotto. I hope you have learned a lot from these 5 tips on how to make the perfect risotto. Plus, a lot of different perspective in terms of cooking and preparation.
For a while, risotto has been a simple yet intricate and intimidating recipe to try. Luckily, with the help of technology, we can now all try and cook this dish at home and with various versions.
I recommend you stick with the basics if you are just beginning to cook this recipe. You need to bring a lot of patience when cooking this comfort food. I mean, after all, it will be worth the wait. Don’t overdo your risotto or it might fail.
Considering all these 5 tips on how to make the perfect risotto, I bet you will never go wrong anymore! So go ahead, try making one at home and impress everyone. Good luck!