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NancyH

Risotto For A Crowd

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I am planning to make risotto for a party of about 150 people, to be served on a lunch buffet with Brisket, Gravy, Noodles, and a small salad bar. How much raw risotto should I start with? How much liquid should I anticipate needing?

Thank you all in advance for helping me with this!


"Life is Too Short to Not Play With Your Food" (coined while playing with my food at Lolita).

My blog: Fun Playing With Food

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:blink:

150 people? My suggestion would be to run away screaming but you probably won't listen to that advice.

I do know you usually need 3-4x the amount of rice in liquid. So 1 up rice, 4 cups liquid. That being said, even assuming say half cup rice per person (that's not a big portion but it's pretty decent) you're still looking at 75 cups of rice and therefore 300 cups of liquid!

How big is your pan? :raz:

Do you have an army of gnomes to help?


"There are two things every chef needs in the kitchen: fish sauce and duck fat" - Tony Minichiello

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Even making risotto in small batches is a pain. I don't even try to be a purist anymore. I just do it in my rice cooker and damn the torpedoes. In my humble opinion, risotto is over-rated anyway, but that's me. Ironically I do have some in the refrigerator that I just made. I was trying out a slow cooker recipe from The Gourmet Slow Cooker cookbook, for risotto with artichoke hearts. The recipe was a failure and I moved it to my rice cooker.

I recommend you not attempt risotto on this scale. Why not substitute another rice dish instead?

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I am planning to pre-cook the risotto about 85% of the way in advance, and finish it on the site of the party. I am planning to do both the prep and final cooking in an 18qt. electric roaster. I have 2 roasters, if needed.

I was hoping to get an idea of how much arborio rice I want to start with, by weight.


"Life is Too Short to Not Play With Your Food" (coined while playing with my food at Lolita).

My blog: Fun Playing With Food

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I made risotto for about 25 people during Varmint's Pig Pickin' weekend in September. I couldn't imagine making 6 times that amount. Oy.

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I am planning to make risotto for a party of about 150 people, to be served on a lunch buffet with Brisket, Gravy, Noodles, and a small salad bar.  How much raw risotto should I start with?  How much liquid should I anticipate needing?

Thank you all in advance for helping me with this!

Phew! Usually, 2 cups of dry Arborio rice (okay, I'm a Vialone fan), 8 cups broth (unsalted chicken, vegetable or, my preference, 7 cups broth and a cup of white wine) will feed 12 people. For 150? 22 cups of rice? 80+ cups of broth? Go a little heavier on the broth, like the Venetians do, because it's going to have to sit in a big-a__ chafing dish or some other hotwater-heated receptacle for a while. Man, you're brave - risotto for 150!!

Claudia

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You can easily pre cook the risso 80%, even large batches. Then your staff can finish it in smaller batches (I'd say no more than enough for <thinking></thinking> 8 people per batch)

You will need about 3 times the liquid to the rice. I usually go with the half a cup of rice per head. In fact, I usually go with a handful of rice per head.

As for the rice to use, I find Carnarolly (sp?) to be more forgiving, as it's starchier.

Now, if you want my advice, I wouldn't cook rissotto for that many people. You need to really caress the preparation during the last few minutes, so that it's served al dente. Too much stress right before service.

However, if your staff is well trained and you've got plenty of helping hands, go for it! Nothing nicer that rissotto when I go out to dinner!


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according to my notes you would want about 30 cups of uncooked arborio for that many peop0le (sorry I don't have that recipe by weight)

I have done risotto for merely 50 people, and won't do it again because it's just too labor intensive a dish. If you're sold on it however and planning to precook anyway, may I suggest instead cooking it 99% of the way & then seal-a-meal/boil-in-bagging it?? risotto should stand up to this type of reheating well, and not get either too gloppy or too dried out etc.

good luck!


Do you suffer from Acute Culinary Syndrome? Maybe it's time to get help...

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If I were you and had my heart set on risotto on my lunch buffet, I would do risotto cakes.

I don't like the idea of fully cooked risotto sitting in a hotel pan over a steam bath turning into a congealed mess of overcooked glop.

The cakes are perfect because you can fully cook the risotto the day before your party, spread it into sheet pans and chill ovrnight. On the day of the party, cut your cakes, brown them in saute pans (or better on a griddle), then lay back onto sheet pans. At service, just reheat in the oven.

7 pounds of rice should get you 150 cakes 3inches in diameter and a half inch thick.

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awww it will be fine. the cook most of the way thing is a great idea. do that in batches. finish it all together and then add your goodies....you are golden everything will be fine. :wink:


does this come in pork?

My name's Emma Feigenbaum.

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Phew!  Usually, 2 cups of dry Arborio rice (okay, I'm a Vialone fan), 8 cups broth (unsalted chicken, vegetable or, my preference, 7 cups broth and a cup of white wine) will feed 12 people.  For 150?  22 cups of rice?  80+ cups of broth?  Go a little heavier on the broth, like the Venetians do, because it's going to have to sit in a big-a__ chafing dish or some other hotwater-heated receptacle for a while.  Man, you're brave - risotto for 150!!

Good advice about the extra broth. I'd also suggest adding extra heavy cream if you can because you'll want to maintain the creaminess on the chaffing dish. Also, don't add much cheese to the dish--let people sprinkle on their own cheese (assuming its a buffet?) because I think parmesian gets an off-taste when held a long time.


He who distinguishes the true savor of his food can never be a glutton; he who does not cannot be otherwise. --- Henry David Thoreau

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Well most proportions seem right here... My family also does about 2 cups of rice for 11 people...Couldnt help you on the measured amount of liquid though, thats always been done by eye...

Please dont add cream though! The whole point of risotto is it's natural creaminess, adding cream would go against the whole concept...cheese and butter for sure though! =)

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Please don't do this.

Risotto develops the consistency of library paste after sitting around for a while, although I have been known to make enough to have one serving reheated and doctored a bit for lunch the next day. It's also much better made with a real chicken stock and, well, enough said.

Though traditional with osso bucco, it is not exactly a "go with" dish, but rather, a first course or even here in North America, a main course if the portion is large enough.

With brisket, mashed potatoes with fennel would be better, though I wouldn't wish 150 servings of those on anybody. Boiled potatoes with lots of parsley, salt and pepper and butter.

Want to get them to say, "Oooo, what's that?" Peruvian blue potatoes roasted mit schmaltz.

Or do polenta, prepped well in advance and then broiled with a little butter and grated cheese if you wish to do something Italian.

Or what the other guy said. Plain old rice made into a salad perhaps or mixed with other grains. Rice is nice.

Not really edited, but rather, opened again, to say, hey, wait, you've already got noodles! You have a small salad bar. Give yourself a break. You don't really need a first course when you have a spread like that. Put more effort into a nice dessert or perhaps buy some nice cheeses to complement fruit and fresh walnuts.


Edited by Pontormo (log)

"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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You can do this ok, just make sure you have enough flat area or trays to put the rice onto once you have got to your 85% stage. generally 1/2 cup is around 100gms of rice so you should allow at least 7.5-8kg of rice then some 15 litres of stock. dont forget around 1-1.5kg of shallots, 1/2 litre of olive oil and 1/2 kg of butter. I squezze a little lemon into my base for a little sharpness but optional, also think about a box of wine to kick off the cooking process. when you have achieved 85% mis-en place, get it out of the pan pronto and spread as thinly as you can on trays or equivalent to stop the damn thing from cooking. when you reheat, caress as mentioned before and add your flavour stock/sauce, then finish with (obscene) amount of grated parmesan and butter.

I generally prep some 150-200 portions of basee every 2-3 days but I have an industrial kitchen and a team of 16 chefs to help me out. you are brave to voulenteer(sic) and good luck to you.

you may find help in a book called rockpool by and Australian chef i think by the name of Steven perry (could be wrong there but the title is correct), his book's first recipe is mushroom risotto for 500 people)

one tip I remember from this is if you can, split the batch into 2 (you have 2 pans if I remember correctly), and begin the second one 10 to 15 minutes after you have started the first. this means you can then start serving the first and by the time you have run out the 2nd should be just ready without the overcooked stodge at the bottom of the pan.

hope this has been of some help.

Alex.


after all these years in a kitchen, I would have thought it would become 'just a job'

but not so, spending my time playing not working

www.e-senses.co.uk

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Thank you for your suggestions (and do keep them coming!).

Alex - I was hoping a professional would chime in! (Not that I don't appreciate all of the other suggestions - but really, how many of us routinely make risotto for over 100 people?)

I do have a staff of volunteers who will be helping with finishing it (and re-heating the other food and setting up service). I've made risotto for a crowd before - but never this large a crowd! The theme of the gathering is "Decade-ent" - so I'm planning this to be Oozy-Goozy Three Cheese Risotto.

A local chef just offered me Alex's tip about cooling on flat pans - something I hadn't thought of before, but I realized why as soon as I read it!

Alex - where do you cook??


"Life is Too Short to Not Play With Your Food" (coined while playing with my food at Lolita).

My blog: Fun Playing With Food

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you're welcome, I cook in London, so a little far away from you.

was going to suggest you hit this 4 times (wiping out the pans and preading out the weighty stirring process, enough to give you forearms like popeye), but if you are going heavy on the cheese better stick to one batch per pan cos wiping out after will not be a 2 minute job.

wish you all the best and am sure will be fine, if you have any other Q's then just PM me.

cheers, Alex.

Thank you for your suggestions (and do keep them coming!).

Alex - I was hoping a professional would chime in! (Not that I don't appreciate all of the other suggestions - but really, how many of us routinely make risotto for over 100 people?)

I do have a staff of volunteers who will be helping with finishing it (and re-heating the other food and setting up service).  I've made risotto for a crowd before - but never this large a crowd!  The theme of the gathering is "Decade-ent" - so I'm planning this to be Oozy-Goozy Three Cheese Risotto.

A local chef just offered me Alex's tip about cooling on flat pans - something I hadn't thought of before, but I realized why as soon as I read it!

Alex - where do you cook??


after all these years in a kitchen, I would have thought it would become 'just a job'

but not so, spending my time playing not working

www.e-senses.co.uk

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Hi Nancy, good luck and go for it!

For four years I organised a memorial charity century cycle ride that finished with an outdoor pasta feast for cyclists and friends and family. The ride was in memory of my great friend who was an Italian chef as well as cycling chum. Risotto was his signature dish, so it was essential that it was part of the feast menu. The first year we fed about 150; the second year, word of the previous year's feast spread and over 300 turned up! We still managed to make the risotto, but only by enlisting an army of starving cyclists to help stir the pot, knowing that unless they did so, they wouldn't eat!

Cooking upwards of 6 kilos of vialone nano in a large pot is an immensely labour intensive task, simply to keep the rice stirred and bubbling away - and vialone nano takes longer than arborio as it absorbs even more cooking liquid. But it can be done and a fresh cooked risotto makes a wonderful plate of food enjoyed nell'aria fresca (I served it with Tuscan sausages braised in porcini and red wine).

Here's the menu from that first memorial ride pasta feast

Marc

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Alright, now that I see you have your heart set on this, I'll chime in with advice for other than cakes.

(and, althought I am not a pro, I have done risotto for 100+ as part of a multi-course tasting menu perhaps 5 or 6 times.)

First, quantity. Who are your guests and what do you expect their appetites to be? Picture an average portion. The 7 pounds of rice I had for cakes will get you a scant half cup per person. Alex's 17.5 pounds will get you well over a cup a person. You decide.

For each pound of rice, you will need:

4 ounces butter

2 ounces minced shallot

2 cups wine

5 cups stock

rice

salt and pepper

4 more ounces butter

6 ounces (total) of your three cheeses

1 or 2 (depending on the size) hard plastic cafeteria trays

You will also need:

1 or 2 large rondeau. Borrow them if you can, rent them if you can't, buy them if you must -- you won't be sorry.

Cook the rice to three quarters and spread on the caf trays. Do not add the last butter or cheese. Refrigerate. You can do this days in advance. You can do the whole thing in two batches in a rondeau.

You will end of with a lot of trays. You can combine trays when completey cold. Think about your refrigeration needs. You've got the cold rice base and up to a gallon of stock until service. Before you start ont he base, you are going to have up to 5 gallons of stock to keep cold. This is where the pros can't help you. They have walk ins galore. You need to think about where and how you are going to keep this -- and all you other food -- cold.

At service, heat the stock to boiling in a pot. Put the cold rice in batches into a rondeau. (This is where you want 2 of the rondeau; finish a batch; start a second as the first is finishing; clean the first pot; start the third). Add the boiling stock in only 1 or 2 additions per batch. Add the cheese and butter; adjust seasoning. The final cooking will go very fast.

Don't let lots of risotto sit on the buffet for long times. Slow down your finishing batches if necessary.

Good luck.

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Thank you all again - some very good advice here! I will let you all know how it turned out - the event is the first weekend in December.


"Life is Too Short to Not Play With Your Food" (coined while playing with my food at Lolita).

My blog: Fun Playing With Food

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Just returned from Cincinnati Ohio and feeding about 150 people a hot lunch on Saturday; our theme was "Decade-ent". I would like to thank all of you who advised on the risotto.

I started with 12 pounds of Carnaroli Rice. I pre-cooked it 2/3-3/4 of the way in 2# batches in my All Clad 6qt chef pan and cooled it on cookie sheets in the fridge, when packed it in ziploc bags.

The problem I discovered when I went to finish it was that though the sides of the roaster ovens get as hot as 450 degrees, the bottom only gets to about 200 degrees, so the final cooking was too slow (I did not have time to do a test run in the roaster beforehand). The taste and texture of the finished risotto were wonderful (and it didn't sit on the chafers long enough to turn to glue), but it just took too long to be practical with the equipment that I had (should have brought the AllClad and the Iwatani Stove!). Still, I managed to feed everyone eventually (I also had 47 pounds of brisket on the buffet, and other items).

Another adventure in cooking in the books!


"Life is Too Short to Not Play With Your Food" (coined while playing with my food at Lolita).

My blog: Fun Playing With Food

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I'm cooking a big batch of risotto today. Not nearly as large as Nancy's - I'm only aiming to feed 36 people. There's no buffet line - bowls will go out to tables family style, so I don't have to be concerned about it getting gluey in a chafing dish. But I do have a time that I need it to be ready for, so getting the timing right is going to be a trick. Any advice on how long it will take to cook? I'm planning on 10 cups of rice, assuming one cup will feed four as a side dish. I'm thinking I should do it in two pots, with 5 cups in each. Does that sound right?

Making in advance tricks aren't really going to work for me given the time constraints on my cooking, so while I know the trick for spreading partially cooked out on sheet pans, that's not particularly useful for me today.

Thanks!


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Dinner for 40

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I was told by an elder Nonna that you can't make risotto to order for a crowd.She tells me big quantities never come out right. (???????) I wanted to make risotto for 15-19 people on Christmas eve. I do not want to pre-cook anything. I want to cook it all in the same pot and I want to make it all at once and serve it right away. Is there something she knows that I don't know?

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I was told by an elder Nonna that you can't make risotto to order for a crowd.She tells me big quantities never come out right. (???????) I wanted to make risotto for 15-19 people on Christmas eve. I do not want to pre-cook anything. I want to cook it all in the same pot and I want to make it all at once and serve it right away. Is there something she knows that I don't know?

I do a vegetarian wild mushroom risotto for about half that number of people (as part of a larger meal; there is usually some left over) about once a year at Christmas time, and while it may not be as good as if I made it in smaller batches, my family insists that I make it year after year. I make the stock earlier in the day. I use a stainless dutch oven or a very tall sauté pan, probably with 3 or 4 cups of rice, if memory serves. It does get a little challenging to stir as time goes on, and with that number of people, it's also hard to serve it as it should be (right off the stove). As far as doing it for 15-19, I think the only way to do it is if tthe portions are fairly small. Once you get beyond the amount of rice I'm using, I think it will become pretty unwieldy.

Anyway, you're welcome to try, but keep in mind that:

1) You're going to be very busy stirring, so don't plan on doing anything else for the last 40 minutes to an hour before dinner

2) Try and recruit an assistant to help stir

3) Timing is going to be the hardest part - especially if you're serving a course before the risotto and don't want to be stuck in the kitchen the whole time.


Edited by Will (log)

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I am no chef, but my best mate is and he did a great risotto for us at work for a function of 120 people. We know that risotto needs to be stirred continuously.. well... according to Heston, not really... I seem to agree, could not find differences between risotto stirred continuously with risotto occasionally stirred.

so, what my friend did was this:

after sauteing (sp??) the onions, toasting rice in a huge pot, he added 3/4 of the stock and just let the rice boil. It took 15-17. Once rice was dry he stopped cooking it, about two hours before serving. He only finished the risotto with the rest of the stock and parmesan/butter (25grms each for every 100grms of rice) before serving. OK, it was not as perfect as the one I had at Locanda Locateli in London, but it was great, everybody commented how good it was.

Hope this helps and good luck

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