This recipe is only the base for other risotto recipes, so there is no presentation to speak of.
Risottos require constant attention for them to work because the stirring is what creates the creaminess of the rice. Make sure to warm the stock as the warm stock will absorb faster than one at room temperature. Lastly, if you want to be able to walk away from the risotto, you can cook it in a pressure cooker. Saute the rice the same way as above and then add all the ingredients to your pressure cooker and cook it for 7-10 minutes.
Complementary Food and Drinks
The basic risotto recipe is incredibly versatile. It can take classic Italian ingredients like mushrooms and basil. It can take hot Southwestern peppers. It can be mixed with Thai curry paste for good effect and nuts go very well with almost all risotto recipes.
Where to Shop
Arborio rice can be purchased packaged in most grocery markets. However, the best place to get it is in a store that has it in bulk. You’ll get a better price on it and often a store with bulk bins will have an inexpensive organic version of it.
How It Works
Risotto is known for its creaminess and that creaminess is derived from the starch of the rice. Rice has two starches. Amylose and amylopectin. Rices with a high proportion of amylose turn fluffy, while rices with a high proportion of amylopectin, a long chain starchy molecule with lots of protrusions that bind to other amylopectin molecules, turn creamy. Short grain rices, like Aroborio rice, contain higher portions of amylopectin than they do amylose. Stirring the rice slowly knocks off the amylopectin molecules into the stock, where they bind together and create a creamy texture. This is why the stock must be added slowly. If it is added quickly, there is not enough time for the amylopectin to work itself out into the liquid and create that creamy texture. Also, if too much of a volume of liquid is added at once, the amylopectin molecules will disseminate in the liquid and not touch, meaning that they won’t have the opportunity to bind. Sauteeing the rice in oil also retards the absorption of the liquid, which allows the amylopectin more time to bind. This also gives the rice a deeper, nuttier flavor.
Arborio rice is not the only rice used to make Italian risotto. Carnaroli and Vialone Nano are also used.
Risotto is a Northern Italian dish and was the Northern counterpart to the South’s pasta dishes during the past few centuries.