Signs of a Great Risotto HELP!!!

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by chefboyarelee, Jan 7, 2012.

  1. chefboyarelee

    chefboyarelee

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    I recently started working the pasta station, and risotto is a big seller, and I have been getting mixed reviews (only from the Head Chef and training chefs, not the customers) about my risotto not being the right consistency when selling.  This obviously wouldn't be a huge issue if I followed the Head Chefs instructions ONLY cause his opinion is the only one that matters, but I have (seemingly) made multiple risotto to the specifications desired by him only to have him say one is GREAT and others WORTHLESS and start over!  I was wondering if there was a comparable consistency I should be looking for before plating.  Or any other signs that the risotto is done?
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2012
  2. chef oliver

    chef oliver

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    I love to cook risotto...

    Right consistency is creamy, quite starchy...

    When I cook risotto I never wash the rice, starch inside will help you with creaminess...and you have to cook risotto with putting stock inside ladle by ladle, never too much liquid and stir gently and regularly...finish risotto with good knob of butter, it helps creaminess too...for me, perfect risotto should not be very thick...
     
  3. chefboyarelee

    chefboyarelee

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    That is great info thanks!  But I was looking for a certain consistency to look for.. maybe something like Kraft mac and cheese?  Not the greatest example  but only one I could think of.
     
  4. chef oliver

    chef oliver

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    Try to find some profi recipe on youtube...there you will see right consistency.../img/vbsmilies/smilies/peace.gif
     
  5. chefross

    chefross

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    Cooking Risotto has a lot to do with the quality of the rice.

    Arborio usually is the rice of choice.

    I use Carnarolli  here at work.

    There are a few schools of thought now-a-days on weather to stir constantly or just allow the stock to all be absorbed with only occasional stirring. 

    As has been mentioned....the finished product should have the individual rice kernels cooked through, but not mushy. The starch acts as the creaminess the dish requires.

    The French Chef I worked under always had me take a spoon of cooked risotto and remove a few grains to crush beneath my thumb and forefinger.

    If the kernel crushed between my fingers was devoid of all hard pieces the risotto was done.

    The window between cooked and overdone is marginal and it is a feel that a cook gets used to.
     
  6. margcata

    margcata Banned

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    My Milanese paternal Grandmom Margherite and Chef Restaurateur always used Carnarolli Italian Rice for Risotto, a dish which hails from Milan, her birthplace. The product, in this case the Rice is quintessential.

    Agree with Chef Ross.

    Another key point of this dish are the other ingredients ...

    Mush for risotto is NOT cool. I stir often verses non stop  --- not for the entire process.

    *** Margherite´s recipe ... Risotto with Green Asparagus ( Risotto agil Asparagi )

    *** Carnaroli or Arborio rice varitey from Milan ( we use Carnaonoli 

    1 1/4 pounds of green asparagus

    2 cups chicken stock

    2 tblsps extra virgin olive oil

    1 1/2 cups minced onion

    1 1/2 cups of Carnanoli rice

    1/4 cup aged parmsano grated ( we use Fiore Sardo or Lucatelli Romano or Reggiano Parmesano )

    1/4 stick butter ( not sweetened )

    1/4 cup shaved aged parmesano

    1) Bring 5 cups of salted water to boil in large saucepan

    2) add the asparagus and cook until crisp tender - about 4 minutes

    3) Using tongs, transfer the stalks to a bowl of ice water

    4) cool and drain and then cut stalks into 1/4 inch rounds. Reserve the liquid that you have boiled the stalks in.

    5) Reserve 3 1/2 cups cooking liquid in saucepan; then add the chicken stock and simmer ... Reduce flame to low.

    6) heat the oil in another large saucepan over medium heat and add onion, cooking until transparent 4 or 5 mins.

    7) add rice and stir for 2 minutes. Add 3/4 of the liquid and simmer until absorbed, stirring often.

    8) Add asparagus rounds and cook until rice is just tender and risotto is creamy, adding the reserved liquid 3/4 cup at a time

    9) allow each addition to be absorbed before adding additional liquid

    10) risotto takes about 20 to 25 mins. depending on your stove

    11) mix reserved asparagus tips, the grated cheese ( not the shaved cheese ) and butter into the rice

    12) season with salt and fresh ground blk pepper to taste

    13) top with the shaved cheese

    *** There is an old Italian Adage, One is always happy at the table ...

    Hope this has assisted.

    Margcata.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2012
  7. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    I don't think it matters what anyone says to you here, what matters is what the head chef wants from you.  Is this an issue you can talk to him about?  Can you say something like "I'm really trying to make a good consistent risotto, can you tell me exactly what you want me to be looking for and testing for when I make the risotto?"  He may give you a very precise answer.  By asking us here you're going to get a lot of opinions of how we like risotto, people will even give you recipes for risotto even though that's not what you're asking for.  I hear risotto being described in many different ways like "creamy" or "slightly al dente" or "should spread once ladled on the plate" blah blah blah.  Nobody's opinion counts but your head chef.  For me I like it to be MUSHY!
     
  8. chrisbelgium

    chrisbelgium

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    The circomstances in which you make risotto is always different. There's only one thing to do next to what your chef demands which is imperative; taste!

    It takes 18-20 minutes to cook risotto rice. I start tasting the doneness of the rice from the 16th minute on and repeat that every 30 seconds.

    What also helps;

    - sweat onion/shallots on a low fire first

    - add rice, stir and let the rice coat in oil/butter on somewhat higher fire

    - when adding wine the rice has to be very hot and you have to hear the wine steam away violently

    - let all the wine cook off completely before adding stock or the risotto will turn out sour (not evaporated white wine can turn a dish very acidic!).

    - add HOT stock ladle by ladle, never use cold stock!!

    - keep "folding"(stir) the rice gently, especially at the end of the cooking; to much stirring at this moment turns risotto mushy. You can fold the rice more in the beginning of the cooking.

    - taste, taste and taste again to monitor the evolution of doneness. The rice has to be done, but only just, timing is essential: rice needs 18-20 minutes.

    - stop the heating in time, the hot pan keeps on cooking the rice!

    - away from the fire; vigourously stir in butter (if required) add parmezan or other required cheese. Check for seasoning!!!! Cover and let rest for a short while.

    - fold and check consistency, you may have to loosen the preparation with a tiny little more stock. Check seasoning again.

    A risotto has to be of thick viscosity when serving; check you chef's requirements, some even like it more flowing (all'onda).

    If you can use a serving ring -and the rice stays in that shape- then you haven't made a risotto!
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2012
  9. chefboyarelee

    chefboyarelee

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    Thanks everyone these tips have been super helpful!  I am feeling a lot more confident while preparing the dish thanks to the suggestions and info!  Very much appreciated!
     
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  10. someday

    someday

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    The risotto should not hold its shape when spooned onto a plate. It should stand up a bit, but should mostly spread out. If you gently shake the plate, that is, pull it back and forth along the table or counter, the risotto should spread out even more and fall. It should not look like a ball of rice, and if you spoon it onto a plate and it sits up in a ball or you are able to put it into a ring mold and have it hold it's shape, you are doing it wrong. I don't care what anyone else says, you are doing it wrong. 

    I can't think of another thing off the top of my head that you could compare the consistency to, TBH. The most common problem I find with risotto is people tend to make it too tight. 

    But I think the most important thing is to do it the way your chef wants. 
     
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  11. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    made multiple risotto to the specifications desired by him only to have him say one is GREAT and others WORTHLESS and start over!

    The question here is, are you actually making it the same each time? I don't mean the instructions for making it, which I'm sure you are following, but the finished result.

    Unless there is some other underlying reason having nothing to do with the food, apparently this is not the case. So what you have to do is work on your consistency, with the goal of producing a finished risotto that satisfies him every time.

    That being the case, the standard is whatever he says it is. And the simplest way of figuring that out is to use one that meets his standards as your own target. Next time you make a risotto he approves of, analyze what the texture, and creaminess, and taste are. That's the way you want to make it for all time; or, at least, for so long as you work for him.

    Is his standard the correct way of making risotto? It doesn't matter worth a hoot. As you proceed in your career always remember one operating rule: If God tells you to do one thing, and Chef tells you to do another, you better pray that God is forgiving!
     
  12. chefboyarelee

    chefboyarelee

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    This is awesome haha.
     
     
  13. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    Wish I could take full credit for it, but all I did was adapt a rule from the Navy. Just substitute "Admiral" for "Chef" and you'll have the original down pat.
     
  14. chef oliver

    chef oliver

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    Great quote :D
     
  15. petemccracken

    petemccracken

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    I heard it phrased as a question:

    What is the difference between God and a Chef?

    God never thought of himself as a Chef!
     
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  16. petalsandcoco

    petalsandcoco

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    But Creator, Yes.

    Petals.