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JayPeeBee

Risotto

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Risoto is one of my favorite dishes to cook for guests.  My preferences lean to seafood and mushroom variations.  I love, but haven't tackled black risoto yet.  I'd be interested in other recipe ideas.  For convenience, I buy freshly made fish stock from Citarella's or Jake's Fish Store here in NY.  I doubt that home made fish stock would be much better, but I'd be open to opinions on that.  I use arborio rice exclusively.  I'm unaware of any quality differences among the arborio rices avalaible in super markets and specialty stores.  Any opinions?

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The most important factor with arborio rice is that it be fresh, and the best way to ensure freshness is to buy a brand that is vacuum packed and to buy it from a store with high turnover. I can't much tell the difference between brands; but I can sure tell if it's old.

The Carnaroli variety is, in my opinion, slightly better than arborio. I find it has a nuttier taste and the center stays al dente more reliably than arborio. A lot of the most committed risotto people use it exclusively.

In terms of risotto variations, well, you can add just about anything to risotto. One approach I like to use, which is the way it was done at Lespinasse in the Kunz days (and which is popular in some regions of Europe), is to make a plain risotto (just stock, wine, onions -- the usual) with herbs only, and to serve the garnish separately, spooned on top of the risotto at the table. This is particularly effective with mushrooms or seafood, which I find just don't hold up well to being mixed into a big gooey steaming pot of rice.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
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Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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My favorite risotto is risotto made by my wife. She can make fantastic risotto, while I am complete rubbish at it. Basicaly, I over cook the rice, so it ends up to mushy. Having said that I will say that I think that fewer flavours are better and certain ingredients work very well. Fresh new peas see to go really well in risotto, maybe it is the sweetness and textural contrast to the rice. On this note of textural contrast, puy lentils in risotto works well, especially for more earthy risotti, say flavoured with smoked chicken breast or sausage etc. Not to many lentils though.

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I had never cooked risotto until a year ago when Shirley Cline from San Fransisco taught me how to via email.

Two of my favourite ingredients now are garlic and fresh sage and then to those I might add mushrooms and some bacon.

One of the recipes I created is Hub Tiger Prawn & Wild Mushroom Risotto - www.hub-uk.com/foodpages07/recip0339.htm

(Edited by HubUK at 3:49 pm on Jan. 14, 2002)

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Adam's mention of lentils prompted me to mention barley.  This can also be cooked in a risotto style, giving big plump grains which pop pleasingly in your mouth.

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Risotto seems to be one of the few things I can't mess up in the kitchen. I make it probably three or four times per month, most often with prosciutto or pancetta.

What are your favorite variations? I'm looking for new ideas so I don't get sick of the stuff. :smile:

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What is the "right" consistency for Risotto? I can't say that I ever ate risotto while in Italy and I had always believed that risotto should not be soupy but just a bit moist; so it shouldn't clump nor should it run, right?

Recently a very prominent and powerful Italian woman insulted a friend of mine's risotto claiming that it was not at all authentic. She wanted it to be soupy and said that is the "right" way to serve it.

Any thoughts?

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I had a truffle risotto at Felix in Hong Kong a couple of summers ago, and when I came back to France I could not wait to recreate it for my husband. So simple, so divine. It was truffle season and I found them at St. Antoine. Expensive and the first time I'd bought one. Long story short I think we wasted a good half truffle, or maybe the truffle wasn't real or a good one. It just didn't explode in slow motion not just in my mouth but somewhere behind my shoulder blades like the one at that wonderful restaurant did. It didn't make me sit up straighter with joy. I could not figure out why it didn't taste so lovely at home. I think I might've gotten duped at the market. Maybe it was their stock that made it so good. Or something in the method although I can say that the texture was exactly the same, I can guarantee that I put a great deal of love into making it.

But what's the real secret to a wonderful risotto?

:rolleyes:

-lucy

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What are your favorite variations? I'm looking for new ideas so I don't get sick of the stuff. :smile:

Red wine risotto is an interesting variation. There's a M. Batali recipe here. I usually add about twice that amount of red wine as I like the flavor of it to come through a bit more and then usually serve it with sliced Italian sausage on top.

I've heard a few chefs talk about making dessert risottos, which seems interesting. Like an apple risotto which sautes apples instead of onions and then uses apple juice instead of stock. Never tried it myself, though.


Chris Sadler

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I believe one of the most important things in making a good risotto is using a good home-made stock. I've found that canned broth yields a different risotto than one made with a good stock.

In the summer when corn is in season, I've made sweet corn risotto with pureed corn & fresh kernels. Sometimes a little drizzle of truffle oil at the end.

Sweet pea & shrimp risotto w/lemon zest & juice squeezed in at the end.

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I've heard a few chefs talk about making dessert risottos, which seems interesting. Like an apple risotto which sautes apples instead of onions and then uses apple juice instead of stock. Never tried it myself, though.

Would this be similar to a warm 'rice pudding'? It sounds pretty good.

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Butternut squash with ginger is my favorite risotto, but I also love roasted beet risotto for its color shock value.


--adoxograph

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I have had success a few times making a simple rabbit risotto, garnished with pancetta. My favorite rice for risotto is the small-grained Vialone nano, which can be hard to find, so care must be taken to ensure that it is fresh.

Cheers,

Squeat

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I've heard a few chefs talk about making dessert risottos, which seems interesting.  Like an apple risotto which sautes apples instead of onions and then uses apple juice instead of stock.  Never tried it myself, though.

Would this be similar to a warm 'rice pudding'? It sounds pretty good.

Yeah, exactly-- it's like a rice pudding made using risotto technique.


Chris Sadler

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Our favorite risotto is lemon ( lemon zest, use a bit of white wine as well as a bit of lemon juice) risotto with lots of parm reggiano and butter. I enjoy the addition of peas, green beans or asparagus. My husband is not fond of lemon anything but loves this dish.

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I'm with Tam. Patricia Wells has a fabulous recipe for lemon risotto in her book, Patricia Wells' Trattoria: Simple and Robust Fare Inspired by the Small Family Restaurants of Italy.

The lemon risotto recipe is (loosely): 2 shallots sautéed until translucent in 2 T. butter with 1 T. olive oil (I use lemon olive oil), add 1-1/2 cups risotto and stir over moderate heat until the risotto is slightly translucent and shiny (glistening). Add 1 c. white wine and stir until absorbed. Then, stirring, add one ladleful at a time of 4 cups simmering chicken or vegetable stock. When that is all absorbed, remove from heat and add the grated zest of 3 lemons (mine are Meyer lemons, since I've got a tree), their juice, and minced herbs (about 2 T. each: mint, sage and rosemary). Serve immediately with grated parmesan.

It's so so good.

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I make risotto about once a week. Here comes the heresy part:

I have some powdered bullion shipped from Pennsylvania, I think (forgot the name, I'm at the office). After the onion and rice sweat and the wine has gone, I put a tablespoon or so of the concentrate in the mix and stir it in. From then on, I use very hot water directly from the tap. Never fails.

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Can someone fix the spelling of the heading of this topic. It should be risotto with two instead of one t. I know i am being a bit of a stickler, but it is important.

regards,

an italian cook

It would be great if it could be fixed; easier to find this thread in the future with the search function through subject line...

I won't turn down any risotto if prepared correctly, but one of my favorites is fennel risotto with shrimp. Also, tomato, pancetta and hot pepper.


"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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I always start my risotto by sauteing it with butter and shallots. Then I add the

white wine and then my home-made veggie stock very slowly- a 1/4cup at a time.

When the rice is done I like to add a couple of Tbs. of cream before serving- it adds that nice creaminess to the dish.


Melissa

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What is the "right" consistency for Risotto?  I can't say that I ever ate risotto while in Italy and I had always believed that risotto should not be soupy but just a bit moist; so it shouldn't clump nor should it run, right? 

Recently a very prominent and powerful Italian woman insulted a friend of mine's risotto claiming that it was not at all authentic.  She wanted it to be soupy and said that is the "right" way to serve it. 

Any thoughts?

I don't know the answer to your question about what's "right" or authentic consistency in its place of origin, but I do know what I like... as beautifully creamy and rich as possible. So, yes, those tending toward a bit of "soupiness" are my preference, authentic or otherwise.

There’s some elusive point in the process, or some ingredient, or something that makes a spectacular risotto, while all the rest is just boiled rice. The best way to describe it is that the ‘creamy liquid’ is not just its consistency, creamy, but also intensely flavoured. Seafood generally imparts the most flavour, for me...

And I've never found that elusive ‘something’ when making it at home. I’ve never been able to quite match the best risotto I’ve had in good restaurants, never quite got it to that top level at home, no matter which rice I use, no matter which pan i use, no matter how good a stock I've made, no matter how much butter I do or don’t add.

Having said that, I rarely find it done really well, except in v. nice restaurants, and even then it’s still a gamble. I had a tragic (and tragically expensive) one a few nights ago, that was full of overcooked duck and some sickly-sweet orange reduction… awful.

Wish I knew the secret of the best ones…

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Porcini risotto for this time of year. . . with or without spinach.

Daniel Boulud has an interesting lemon-lime-asparagus version on his web site, for spring.


agnolottigirl

~~~~~~~~~~~

"They eat the dainty food of famous chefs with the same pleasure with which they devour gross peasant dishes, mostly composed of garlic and tomatoes, or fisherman's octopus and shrimps, fried in heavily scented olive oil on a little deserted beach."-- Luigi Barzini, The Italians

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When I make it I just throw in whatever veggies I've got in the fridge to be used up; tonight it was french green beans and diced tomatoes. Was pretty good.


"I think it's a matter of principle that one should always try to avoid eating one's friends."--Doctor Dolittle

blog: The Institute for Impure Science

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My risottos never turn out as well as the great ones I've had in restaurants. That said, I love making them. There's a real zen thing to making a risotto. Despite the fact that you've got to stand in one place for twenty or thirty minutes (or maybe because of it), I find it very relaxing. It's sort of a nice, slow way to end the day.

Of course, when the process is finished and the risotto sucks, the zen thing rapidly disappears.

The missteps make the chickens happy, though.


amanda

Googlista

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