How to Make an Authentic Italian Risotto
An authentic Italian risotto starts from the right choice of rice. The best rice that will yield a great risotto, is a short grained rice produced in the Po river Valley. The name of such rice is called Arborio and can be found in some Italian groceries abroad or in some foreign cuisine specialty stores. The rice presents as a short grained rice with an oval shape and a pearly appearance. This special type of rice really makes a difference if one wants to savour an authentic Italian risotto because it is a very starchy rice that donates special creaminess to the risotto as it cooks.
In order to cook an authentic Italian risotto, the following utensils are recommended:
- A heavy bottom saucepan in order to grant an even cooking surface
- A wooden spoon in order to prevent the Arborio's rice delicate grains from breaking
- A ladle to gradually add broth to the risotto, one ladle at a time as required.
The great thing about risotto is that there are a lot of ways to prepare it. While the Italian method for cooking risotto remains the same, various diverse ingredients may be added so to make a variety of risottos. Some popular risottos in Italy are: wild mushroom risotto, asparagus risotto and Milan saffron risotto. Therefore, the ingredients required to prepare a risotto will vary depending what type of risotto is prepared. The following is the standard way to prepare a simple risotto.
- Arborio Rice
- Chicken Stock
- Parmesan Cheese
Prepare some stock, calculating that for each cup of uncooked Arborio rice you will need approximately 3-4 cups of broth. Keep the stock warm. In the heavy sauce pan, melt the butter and some chopped onion. Cook until the onion is transparent. Add the rice allowing it to sizzle nicely for a few minutes. This helps the rice release some pleasant nutty flavors.
At this point the warm chicken stock can be added one ladle at a time as it is absorbed. The rice will cook slowly releasing its starch and becoming creamy. The rice should not be overcooked: this is the main characteristic of an authentic risotto, it must be slightly undercooked allowing a certain firmness to the bite. This is what Italians define as ''al dente''.
The risotto at this point is ready. A touch of butter and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese may add to the creaminess of the risotto. The dish can be garnished with some chopped parsley that will finish the dish. Risotto must be served warm, right away so to prevent it from becoming sticky or over cooked.
As seen, it does not take much to prepare a good risotto. If you do not want it plain, simply add some mushrooms or asparagus to the butter and onion and saute' a bit longer before adding the rice. Now, that you have learned the art of risotto, you can invite some friends over and enjoy the dish with gusto. Bon Appetito!
Creamy, al dente grains. Flavored by nature. No additives. Microwavable. Grown in the USA.