Risotto advice

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by rocio, Aug 15, 2005.

  1. rocio

    rocio

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    Hello, everyone! I´m going to try to make risotto for the first time ever. I´d like to know if there is any advice that I should follow so it won´t be a disappointment or, even worse, a disaster.

    Thanks!
    Rocio :chef:
     
  2. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    Perhaps a bit of heresy, but a pressure cooker makes good risotto quick and easy. No stirring, 6 minutes at 15 lbs pressure. Quick release, add cheese and correct liquid as needed.

    Phil
     
  3. suzanne

    suzanne

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    If you're following a good recipe, follow it! Don't try to rush things (if you're not taking phatch's advice ;) ) -- be patient.

    It's actually pretty difficult to mess up risotto, other than undercooking it so that the rice grains are totally crunchy (a little "bite" at the middle is what you want, though) -- but you can fix that by adding a little more liquid and cooking it a little longer. Underseasoning can always be remedied before serving. Even overcooking is not so terrible, but if it comes out waaaaay too mushy and rice-puddingish, just cook it a little less the next time. About the only thing you can't fix is oversalting :( so be careful there.

    And, of course, if you are not commpletely happy with it, follow the same advice on any new recipe: Don't tell the people you're feeding that it's not perfect. :p They may think it's the best thing they ever ate! :D
     
  4. rocio

    rocio

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    Thanks so much for your advice....About not telling people that the food is not perfect, is something I have to remind myself lots of time, since I tend to try and explain everything about how it went with the recipe.
    Cheers!
    Rocio
     
  5. shroomgirl

    shroomgirl

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    Rocio, there are usually straight forward recipes on retail packages of arborio rice. They give proportions and technique.....I do not continuously stir.

    If you have leftovers make risotto cakes or arincini (breaded risotto balls filled with mozz and fried) the next day.
     
  6. rocio

    rocio

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    MMMMMM!!!! those risotto cakes sound sooo good!!! I´ll try to have some leftovers to make them! Thanks for the tip!
    Rocio
     
  7. keki60

    keki60

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    Add your liquids a third at a time. it will help with the absorption.



    kelly
    Risotto is so versatile, you can add practically anything to it and it will taste great!
    Good luck
     
  8. beefcheeks

    beefcheeks

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    Key things to remember when cooking risotto:

    1. BE PATIENT- risotto takes approx 20 min to cook. Add stock and stir till absorbed. Repeat.

    2. ADD WINE- After you sautee rice and onions, add wine. This adds the higher flavor notes and cuts through creaminess of the dish.

    3. DONE WHEN TRANSLUCENT- Towards the end of cooking, you'll find little opaque dots in each grain. You're done when these dots disappear. Be careful not to break the rice.

    4. FINISH WITH PARMESANO REGGIANO/BUTTER- At the end when liquid is somewhat absorbed, stir in some grated reggiano and butter to bring it together. No cheese with seafood risottos though... unless of course, your customers want it.

    I worked in a restaurant that featured regional cooking from Northern Italy. We did every risotto dish a la minute (to order). Imagine cooking 8-12 assorted risotto dishes from scratch at the same time! It was totally crazy!

    Well, I hope this helps.

    Dave
     
  9. scott123

    scott123

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    Don't get too caught up with a set amount of time. As rice ages it continually loses moisture and becomes more dense/harder to penetrate with moisture (same thing with dried beans). I've used really old arborio rice that tooked 40 minutes before it stopped being crunchy. The only way of knowing is to watch it and continuously taste it. And, don't forget, it'll continue cooking a bit after you take it off the stove. It'll also continue to thicken a bit/absorb water as well, so make sure it's pretty loose when you remove it from the heat. Getting the right amount of liquid in the final plated dish is a little tricky. It's very easy to have it end up dry or soupy. And, as I'm sure you're aware, the timing is critical for serving it. The right creamy texture at the right eating temp, takes some work, but when you achieve it, it's a magical eating experience.

    I'll second the Parmiaggano Reggiano endorsement. It makes the dish. Also, the chicken stock has to be homemade. Has to be.

    If you can, have extra stock simmering. It's very easy to misjudge the liquid needed and run out. I don't have any hard evidence on this, but I believe that adding water at the end gives you an inferior product to diluting your stock at the beginning of the process. That's my theory.

    And lastly, unless you live in a cold climate or have a phenomenal ventilation system, I'd wait a few months for risotto. I sweat like a pig when I make risotto, and that's during the fall/winter. I won't even try making it during the summer.
     
  10. rocio

    rocio

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    Thank you all for your advices. I´m sure they´ll be very useful. I wouldn´t like to feel indoor summer now that the weather is finally getting so nice, so I´ll wait a little until I´m sure I´ll need the warmth inside (my home).
    Thanks again!!
    Rocio
     
  11. pinot

    pinot

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    I would just add to the other great replys

    - make sure your stock/liquid is simmering at all times during the cooking process so its at boiling temp when you add it to the Risotto.

    - Don't expect to be able to walk away or do other tasks during the process. So have everything organised and at hand , make sure you have plenty of stock available and if neccesary add water to your "stock pot" so you don't run dry before the rice is done.

    - As with anything quality ingredients will be reflected in your results

    - Experiment with various ingredients , especially textures.

    - Experiment with viscosity and doness too , atm I am preferring mine a little runny and a little on the al dente side.
     
  12. oldarpanet

    oldarpanet

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    I have a question about risotto and its prep.

    I watch Gordon Ramsey's shows (Hell's Kitchen etc) and he frequently has risotto as an app.

    How do you prepare it half-way and hold it until it's ordered to finish it?

    Thx,

    Dan
     
  13. petalsandcoco

    petalsandcoco

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    Oldarpanet,

    I think Hell's Kitchen is not the best place to learn how to cook risotto. Dave's 4 points echo what a good dish should be. I have never cooked it half way, but thats me.

    Petals.
     
  14. cookers

    cookers

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    Let it absorb the liquid twice and then put it in the cooler right away. Then once you need it, heat it up and let it absorb your stock, water, broth for the third time. 
     
  15. oldarpanet

    oldarpanet

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    Thanks! both of you!

    The "4 points" are great.  I especially like the wine step.  That one is new to me.

    Do it 2 thirds of the way and quickly cool till needed and do the last bit is brilliant.

    (obviously I'm not a chef (or a Chef) by any stretch of the imagination...)

    I don't look to Hell's K for how to cook, but was just curious as to how that particular dish was prepared.

    In fact I watched it last night and as per usual, Beef Wellington was on the menu.  The problems (and, seemingly, necessary rant from Ramsey) about failed Wellington was on display.

    But, following HK was Master Chef.  The second part was an "elimination challenge".  The earlier winner had an advantage.  Each judge had for the winner, one dish that they find most challenging for themselves. The winner got to choose which dish everyone had to prepare to see who was worst and, subsequently eliminated.  One was Risotto, one (surprising to me, was Clam Chowder!) the third, Ramsey's, was Beef Wellington.  According to him it takes "years to perfect." yet he screams at his "hopefulls" when they get it wrong.  Hmm.  Unrealistic much?

    Dan
     
  16. steve walker

    steve walker

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    never watch cooking shows

    i haven't had TV for 8 years 

    listen to the radio if you need company

    whatever is on TV will be told to you by staff or customers

    as for the rice so many brands and ages of rice may affect your out come 

    start with a brand and a recipe and a method and follow beefchheks' steps

    adjust it to your technique and then when you've got it right buy a beer for those who got you there 

    happy days
     
  17. cheflayne

    cheflayne

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    #1 It's TV. It's about ratings.

    #2 The "hopefulls" on HK aren't newbies and aren't going for an entry level position.
     
  18. french fries

    french fries

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    Sounds INSANE to a home cook like me. From the time the oil heats the pan to the time I serve the finished product, it takes me about 1 hour. And I can't imagine doing anything else while stirring my risotto. And everybody has to stop talking to me. If my wife asks me where I've put the car keys, the risotto is ruined. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/lol.gif
     
  19. sarahg

    sarahg

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    Hey there.  So it seems as though the other members here have answered your question pretty clearly and thoroughly.  But I'll add my two cents nonetheless.  The idea with Risotto is that by stirring it frequently, you are coaxing out the starch (and flavors) of the rice in order to produce a type of sauce, which is starch based of course, and which results in a creamy rice dish.  When the rice is finished cooking, the Italians like to rapidly stir butter into the rice and finish it with Romano cheese as well as an herb, such as parsley.  The steps to produce this rice and ratios involved are pretty general, but there is indeed a Risotto method, as there is a Pilaf method.  First, sweat some shallots or onions in a butter and olive oil mixture.  Then, add the uncooked rice and stir to coat the kernels with the fat.  It is said that doing so will help to prevent the individual rice kernels from sticking together, because the rice is very sticky by definition.  Now, deglaze your pan with a white wine.  So after 30 seconds or so, begin to ladle your simmering stock in, approximately a third of it each time, stirring frequently until the stock is nearly absorbed before adding another third of stock.  Repeat this process until the rice is just done or very nearly so, as after cooking should be factored into the equation.      

    The ratio that I go by, generally speaking of course, is 1 cup of rice to approximately 3.5 cups of simmering stock.  Most of the time I end up with a bit left over--a far better scenario than running out of it altogether.  I would also caution against stirring too vigorously (or even too often) because doing so can cause the rice to take on a mushy or broken quality, which is not desirable.  So in other words, you don't want to beat this delicate rice up too much lol.  

    Finally, Aborio rice is a short grain rice that is enormously starchy--and even very delicate.  As a result, the idea of cooking this type of rice "al dente" is somewhat of a confusing matter, if not misleading.  What I mean is that cooked aborio has a very different texture than traditional long grain, white rice that you have in your cabinets.  It tends to be softer and of course starchier when cooked and so therefore it will not, under any circumstances, have the same texture and firmness of long grain rice.  If the rice is crunchy at all it is under cooked; properly cooked, it should be creamy and soft, but have a degree of "chew" to it.  It should not be mushy in any way.  Those who over-stir this rice end up with disappointing results, in my view of course.

    So here is a rough articulation of the Risotto method :)  I hope your results are awesome!!             
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2012
  20. Iceman

    Iceman

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