Risotto

Risotto

By
From
Encyclopedia of Food and Cookery
Serves
6

A rice-based dish from the northern provinces of Italy; rice is to the people of northern Italy what pasta is to those of the south.

Risotto should be made with either arborio, carnaroli, vialone nano, roma or baldo rice, most of which are grown along the Po River Valley in Italy’s north. These rices can absorb liquid and stand up to long, slow cooking without becoming soft and mushy. The perfect risotto should be a creamy mass, with each grain having a slightly resistant core to the bite. It can be served plain, flavoured simply with butter and cheese, or more elaborately with such ingredients as mushrooms, tomatoes, meat, poultry, seafood or chicken livers, to name a few.

Risotto is usually served as a dish on its own with grated parmesan cheese passed separately. One exception to this rule is risotto Milanese, which is served as an accompaniment to osso buco Milanese.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
125g butter
1 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove
2 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped
660g arborio rice
2 litres water or chicken stock, boiling
freshly ground black pepper
4-6 tablespoons parmesan cheese, grated, plus extra to serve
salt

Method

  1. Melt 60 g butter in a heavy saucepan and sauté onion and whole garlic clove. When onion is soft and golden, add parsley. Cook over low heat for a few minutes, then discard garlic and add rice.
  2. Fry for 5 minutes, stirring constantly, then add 250 ml boiling stock and cook gently until it is absorbed. Continue cooking gently, adding stock a cupful at a time and stirring occasionally, for 20–30 minutes or until rice is tender and all liquid is absorbed.
  3. Season with salt and pepper, stir in remaining butter and the cheese and leave risotto over low heat for a few minutes before serving. Serve with plenty of extra grated parmesan cheese handed separately.

Variations

  • Risotto with mushrooms: Make risotto, adding 2 rashers bacon, rind removed, finely chopped, with the onion, and 250 g mushrooms, sliced, with the parsley. Use only 60 g butter for frying the onion: do not add more with the cheese.

    Risotto may be prepared in this way using other vegetables such as tomatoes or zucchini. Shelled prawns, mussels, chicken meat or chopped sautéed chicken livers may also be added with the mushrooms.

    Risotto with prawns: Make risotto and keep hot. Melt 90 g butter in a frying pan and sauté 1 clove garlic and 1 kg raw prawns, shelled and deveined, for 5–8 minutes or until prawns are cooked. Discard garlic, then season prawns with salt and pepper. Add to risotto and fold together.
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