Risotto – the basic principles

Risotto – the basic principles

By
From
Arabesque
Photographer
William Meppem

To make risotto, the first thing to know is that you should never wash the rice – you definitely want all the starchiness you can get. There is nothing hard about making risotto; it simply requires supervision and constant stirring to create the proper creamy texture. Risotto is ready when the individual grains are tender but with some residual bite. The overall consistency of the dish should be a little like a porridge – creamy and starchy, and definitely not swimming in liquid. One other thing: risotto is not for those watching their cholesterol and calories. The final compulsory touch is a healthy handful of grated parmesan and a big nob of butter – these help to thicken the final dish, enrich it and add a lovely glossy sheen.

Following is a basic ‘four-stage technique’. Stock is added in three stages to make a base, with a little reserved until the fourth stage. Other ingredients are added halfway through the third stage. In the fourth stage the risotto is enriched with butter and cheese.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
60ml olive oil
1 small onion, quartered
400g vialone nano rice
1 litre chicken stock, simmering
100g butter, chilled and cut into small cubes
60g parmesan cheese
salt and pepper

Method

  1. Stage 1: fry the onion for a few minutes to flavour the oil, then discard it. Add the rice and stir for two minutes to coat each grain of rice with the oil. Next, add enough hot stock to cover the rice by a finger-width. Cook on medium heat, stirring with wooden spoon from time to time, until most of the stock has been absorbed.
  2. Stage 2: add the same quantity of stock. Again, cook on medium heat, stirring with wooden spoon from time to time, until most of stock has been absorbed.
  3. Stage 3: add a third amount of stock (reserving 100 ml for the last stage) and when half the liquid has been absorbed, add your choice of vegetables, spices etc. Stir gently until the stock is absorbed.
  4. Stage 4: stir in the butter and parmesan and season with salt and pepper. Add the last 100 ml of stock and stir until the butter has been incorporated. Cover and allow to rest off the heat for a minute.
Tags:
Middle East
Middle Eastern
Arabic
Arabian
Arabesque
Greg
Lucy
Malouf
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