Risotto /rɨˈzɒtoʊ, rɨˈzoʊtoʊ/ (Italian: [riˈsɔtto]; Northern Italian: [riˈzɔtto]) is a north Italian rice dish cooked in a broth to a creamy consistency. The broth can be derived from meat, fish, or vegetable. Many types of risotto contain butter, wine and onion. It is one of the most common ways of cooking rice in Italy.
Risotto has a reputation for being time-consuming, but once you grasp the ingredients, it doesn’t take more than a half an hour to make.
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How To Make Risotto
Serves 4 to 6
What You Need
1 small onion
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups arborio, carnaroli, or vialone nano rice
1/2 cup white wine
6-8 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1-2 tablespoons butter
1 cup cheese (Parmesan is classic, but you can use any kind)
High-sided sauté pan (at least 10″ diameter) or dutch oven
Ladle or measuring scoop
1. Risotto Prep – Measure, chop, and gather all of the ingredients going into your risotto. Warm the broth in a saucepan over low heat. It should be just barely steaming by the time you start the risotto.
2. Soffrito – This is the flavor base of your risotto. It almost always includes onions, but you can add any other aromatics, spices, or ingredients you would like. Sauté these ingredients in a healthy amount of butter (which is traditional) or olive oil over medium-high heat until the onion is translucent and beginning to break down. Add the garlic and other spices, and cook until fragrant.
3. Tostatura – Pour the rice into the soffrito and stir until every grain is coated with fat. (Add more fat if needed – this is not the time to skimp!) Continue stirring the rice until the edges have turned translucent but the center is still opaque. You should also be able to smell the aroma of toasted rice.
4. Deglaze – Deglazing the pan at this point isn’t strictly necessary, but a splash of white wine will add another layer of flavor and help lift up any bits that have caramelized to the pan. Use a 1/2 cup or so of wine, and simmer until the wine has completely reduced and the pan is nearly dry.
5. Cottura – Begin incrementally adding the warm broth one ladle at a time. Wait to add another ladle until the liquid has been almost completely absorbed by the rice. This gradual addition of liquid is key to getting the rice to release its starch and create its own delicious sauce, so don’t rush this step. Ideally, you want to use just enough broth to cook the rice and no more.
Begin tasting the rice after about 12 minutes to gauge how far it has cooked. Add salt and other seasonings as needed. The risotto is ready when the rice is al dente (when it still has a bit of chew) and the dish has the consistency of thick porridge. If you run your spatula through the risotto, the risotto flow slowly to fill in the space. As the Italians say, risotto should be like “la onda,” a wave that slowly rolls to shore.
6. Mantecatura – As a final step, add one more ladle of broth along with one or two tablespoons of butter and a cup of cheese to enrich the risotto and make it extra-creamy.
Serve the risotto immediately. The longer it stands, the more the starches will set and you’ll lose the creamy silkiness.
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