Hi Everyone! Craving for some home-cooked rice meal? Checkout what is better, Risotto vs Paella. Let’s discover their delicious difference in this new post.
Both risotto and paella are comfort food. Although both have rice as the main ingredient, the differences between risotto vs paella are astounding.
The cooking techniques are very much different too. Need to know more? Read along to discover their delicious differences.
R for Risotto
Risotto is creamy, mushy and gentle. It is elegant in its own right and taste. This dish has a lot of variations too.
Some people add texture to elevate the taste while others make it creamier for more luxury. This Italian rice dish is very popular that over the years, the original concept was altered and became an extraordinary rice recipe.
Arborio rice has awesome health benefits too apart from being the best risotto rice. You can read about it from our previous post.
One version of food cannot determine its history; this is true with risotto. Over the years and everywhere, risotto has hundreds of versions to offer. But where did this recipe come from apart from being Italian?
Records say the during the 11th century, risotto was born. A missionary to the Philippines, Padre Calleri, brought home to Italy several varieties of Japonica rice. From these species came Carnaroli and Arborio rice which are the perfect grains for risotto.
In the 15th century, Maestro Martino, a Milanese chef cooked boiled rice with meat broth and eggs. This was written in his book, The Art of Cooking.
The technique in cooking great risotto is on the rice itself. If you can easily find Arborio rice at your local grocery then it is perfect otherwise you can checkout Arborio rice substitutes.
If you are craving for some risotto on this fine weather then follow these easy to cook homemade risotto recipe.
What You Will Need:
- 2 cups of Arborio rice
- 8 cups of vegetable or chicken broth (at least room temperature)
- 1 cup of Parmesan cheese
- ½ cup of dry white wine
- 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
- Large shallot, finely chopped
How to Cook:
- Sauté shallot in butter in a medium-heat pan until fragrant and soft. This may take at least 4 minutes. Add a pinch of salt while stirring often.
- Pour the Arborio rice and stir until the entire grain is covered with butter. Keep stirring for 2 minutes until the rice grains become opaque. Remember to not brown the rice.
- Add the ½ cup of dry white wine and allow the mixture to simmer. Stir constantly until the wine is almost dry. This may take about 3 minutes.
- Gradually pour the broth at least half a cup at a time while stirring the mixture regularly. Keep adding the broth and continue stirring until the rice is al dente and the mixture is already thick.
- Toss in a cup of Parmesan cheese and you may add some optional butter and to make it extra creamy.
- Serve warm!
This recipe was inspired by TheKitchn. If you notice, the key to making a great risotto is both the rice and the stirring. These two are essential if you want to have a creamier and tastier risotto. Try it at home!
Paella on the other hand is vibrant, exciting, and full of fusion. The aggressive taste of paella makes it standout from the other rice recipes you may know.
Coming from Valencia, Spain, the rich history of paella is very noble. It was a dish for the peasants in the fields of Valencia back in time.
Any short or medium grain rice varieties are good for making paella. Find out what is the best rice for paella and the best substitutes here.
Paella was discovered by cooking whatever ingredients left in the kitchen, including snails and rabbits. The rice varies from short to medium grain in cooking this dish.
The paella we know today has many versions, even for vegans. The cooking technique is quite different too.
Paella has a kind of tough outsides while the insides are mushy, these all depends on the ingredients one is using. There are different kinds of paella today:
- Seafood paella
- Paella Negra
- And Paella Mixta
Linguists believe that the term paella came from the Latin word patella which mean a flat plate for offerings. The traditional way of cooking paella was so simple and only using three basic rules:
- Cook over patella or paella pan
- Paella is best when under open fire
- Use short, medium-grain rice or Bomba rice
Before tossing in the entire ingredients for paella, always remember to season the pan. Seasoning it is so easy to do, follow these steps below:
- Wash the paella pan with soap and water. Clean and rinse thoroughly using warm water
- Use a dry soft cloth after washing
- Rub Olive oil in the pan. Be sure to cover the entire pan
When you get to familiarize yourself with the paella basics, I’m pretty sure you can cook an authentic paella recipe too!
The best thing with paella is that it is already a meal itself. It can stand alone or blend well in a banquet. It isn’t too early to plan for the weekend treats! Try this exploding paella recipe below:
What You Will Need:
- 1 ½ cup of medium-grain white rice
- Tablespoon of Olive Oil
- ¼ Teaspoon of Saffron
- 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
- Large brown onion, sliced
- 4 tomatoes, medium-sized, chopped
- 2 teaspoons of paprika
- A cup of frozen peas
- 12 large prawns peeled and deveined (with tails still intact)
- 2 medium-sized Chorizo, sliced
- 4 cups of chicken broth
- Tablespoon of boiling water
- Chicken thighs at least 4 pieces Trimmed and cubed
- Optional: lemon wedges for garnish
How to Cook:
- Heat oil in a paellera or a large deep saucepan on a medium-high heat. Add the chicken and fry for 5 minutes. Keep stirring until the chicken is golden. Transfer the chicken to a bowl.
- While frying the chicken, combine the saffron on boiling water for about 5 minutes or until the saffron releases its color.
- On the same saucepan, add the chorizo sausages, onions and garlic. Sauté for 5 minutes or until the onion is soft. Pour the saffron mixture and add 2 teaspoons of paprika while stirring the mixture for about 1 minute.
- Add the tomatoes and keep stirring until it becomes soft
- Pour in the rice. Add the broth and let it boil. Minimize the flame to medium heat and stir the mixture until everything combines well.
- Toss the chicken back to the pan and again, stir. Let the mixture simmer for about 20 minutes or until the entire stock was absorbed. Leave the paella uncovered.
- Throw in the prawns and peas into the pan and cover. Let it cook for 10 minutes more.
- When the rice is tender garnish with lemon wedges.
- Serve and enjoy!
For vegan paella, you can omit the meat ingredients and add in your favorites! The paella fusion is traveling the world and has its own versions in most countries.
Risotto vs Paella
After carefully studying the differences between risotto vs paella, I listed the unique qualities of each below:
- Paella is from Spain
- Risotto is from Italy
- Paella is dry
- Risotto is sticky
- Paella has a crust
- Risotto should neither have crust or burned rice
- Paella is ambiguous
- Risotto is monotonous
When it comes to taste, paella seems to be more exciting than risotto. Risotto is creamier and upfront while paella has surprising flavors inside.
The aroma each dish releases also differs. Risotto gives off buttery, cheesy smell together with aromatic vegetables and herbs. Paella is very distinct in aroma because of its toasty, rich in flavor (seafood-like or meat-like) with dashes of spices.
Both rice dishes however are flexible when it comes to their other ingredients. Like the many chefs around the globe, you too can make your own version of these recipes. Most risotto and paella we know today have wines in it to make it more delectable.
You know what’s the most exciting part? You can actually cook risotto and paella in a rice cooker. Most electric rice cookers today have multi-function settings which makes cooking easier.
Who’s the Winner?
The real choice is yours. As for me, both are great in their respective dishes. I cannot seem to choose between risotto vs paella.
It all depends on the mood I guess. If the occasion calls for some finesse then let risotto take over. However if the party calls for something vibrant, then paella wins.
How about you, what would you choose between risotto vs paella? Let us know in the comments below!