Quick Cooking Tips – Giving that Italian Touch: Risotto
Giving that Italian Touch: Risotto
Any Italian worth their wine knows how to make a good risotto. If you ever go to Italy, your visit just won’t be complete without trying a big bowl of steaming, creamy, perfectly cooked risotto. However, you don’t really have to go all the way to Italy to be able to enjoy a delicious plate of risotto. You can make one at home, with a few simple ingredients!
Here are some quick tips in making a basic risotto at home:
• In making a risotto, the type of rice that you will use is very important. You cannot just use any kind of rice; otherwise, you might end up making another dish. It might be good, but it won’t be an authentic Italian risotto.
• You can get the right type of rice for risotto at most supermarkets, although there are times when you might have to pop into your specialized deli. You’re going to want to use a high-starch, short grain type of rice because they absorb liquids better and release more starch than long-grain varieties.
• While there are many available ways to cook risotto, the most basic step is to always cook the rice in a mixture of oil/butter and some garlic and onions. This gives the rice the fundamental flavors that you can build upon.
• Once the rice grains are individually coated, you can add the liquid parts. First, the wine (you can use either red or white, depending on the proteins you’re going to use), then the stock, once the wine has evaporated.
• Constant stirring not only keeps the grains from sticking together, it also coaxes the starch out of the rice, which will give the risotto its creamy texture.
• For an even creamier and smoother risotto, add some more butter and some grated Parmesan cheese once the mixture has reduced down, then stir vigorously to completely incorporate the butter-cheese mixture.
• Traditionally, risotto made with seafood does not call for cheese in its recipe.
• If you flip through cookbooks, you might encounter different names for risottos. Here are some of these names, and what they mean:
o A risotto alla Milanese is made with mostly beef ingredients: stock for the liquid, lard instead of butter for the fat and marrow for a really deep and earthy flavor.
o Risotto al Barolo, on the other hand, is cooked down with red wine, and has the distinct flavor of sausages and the hearty addition of Borlotti beans.
o You can make a “black risotto”, where you can use cuttlefish or squid, and add the ink sacs for a distinctive and unique flavor and color.
Don’t forget to keep an eye on your risotto, since