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Risotto in advance

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I want to prepare an appetizer with risotto, but I can't be giving it the attention I normally do. I figure most restaurants that serve risotto, pre-cook it to some degree, and finish it to order. What's the best procedure to follow if you can't do all the cooking at once?

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I always thought this way worked well. Some other folks I've worked with will pre-cook the rice in your standard covered pot way. That makes for sucky risotto.

Some time in the afternoon send a trustworthy; but, not too important cook out to the line with a big pot of simmering stock, your two biggest saute pans, arborio rice, finely diced carrots, and finely diced onions. Follow Standard Risotto Operating Procedure, toasting your rice in oil, adding a bit of the diced veg, and then gradually adding stock until you get it close to somewhere between hadf and three quarters cooked. It shouldn't really be very wet, so it takes a little bit of skill to get the dryness and doneness to happen at the same time. Well, not so much skill as paying attention. Then cool it quickly on sheet pans and store it in containers in the cooler. It doesn't really store all that well, so try to keep it close to what you need for service.

Saute the bulk of your main ingredients per order, add par cooked rice and stock, bring the rice all the way to al dente, and finish with herbs and cheese or whatever.

You can't ignore it; but, it isn't much worse than pasta to order.

I do more or less the same at home, starting the arborio rice and veg in seperate pans. I find it gives you better control over what state your vegetables are in, in the final dish.

edited to be more explicit.


Edited by eje (log)

---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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This mirrors the advice I was given by several professional chefs here in Cleveland - I am embarking on making 12# of Risotto for 125 people next week using this approach!


"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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This is the way we did it at two restaurants I worked at:

start off as you would when making it regularly. I sweat the veggies, add the rice and sautee for a little while. Then I pour some wine and let the alcohol cook off. Gradually add stock and stir a little bit to let the starch of the rice mix with the stock. I cook the rice to about 80%. The rice is still very firm to the bite, but you can already tell it's been happily absorving the cooking liquid. I cool it off completely over sheet pans and then (for restaurant use) scale it and store it.

to finish the risotto, place in a pan with some stock and cook until desired doneness. Finish with some butter and adjust seasoning. By the way, I agree that before you cool it, the riso should be moist. Remember the rice will keep absorving liquid as it rests.

good luck!!!


Follow me @chefcgarcia

Fábula, my restaurant in Santiago, Chile

My Blog, en Español

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I want to prepare an appetizer with risotto, but I can't be giving it the attention I normally do.  I figure most restaurants that serve risotto, pre-cook it to some degree, and finish it to order.  What's the best procedure to follow if you can't do all the cooking at once?

Were you asking how to do this in a restaurant context, or at home? Just in case you were asking about the procedure a home cook might utilize, what I've done successfully is cook the risotto so that it's still a little crunchy in the center and then cover and refrigerate the entire pot. (In my case, a five-quart rondeau). Take the pot out of the refrigerator an hour before service, so it comes up to room temperature. A few minutes before service, add the last ingredients and bring everything up to serving temperature while stirring vigorously -- it should be done at that point. If you're adding stock, cream or any other liquid make sure it's hot, as this will speed things along.

Do a practice run on a small batch if you can. It's hard to describe the point at which you should stop par-cooking, and how much less liquid you should add than for finished risotto. But once you've screwed it up once, it becomes clear where you have to add more or less, and where you needed to stop.


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

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So tonight I'm cooking my girlfriend what should be a wonderful meal: some excellent beef tenderloin steaks and a tasty risotto on the side. Maybe not the perfect pair but I like them both, so whatever.

The problem is that I have only two hands, so which do I prepare ahead of time? Risotto is to be stirred continuously, so I can't stop to go check on the steaks. At the same time, I'm leery about leaving the risotto for 10 minutes while I cook the steaks.

Any suggestions? Or should I just give up and make mashed potatoes?

-- Mike

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just pre cook the risotto but keep it on the undercooked-crunchy side. then grill your steaks and when their resting re-heat your risotto with more broth and finish with butter and cheese. some people will swear me off on this,,but trust me,,you'll never know the difference. have a great time!

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Thanks, that sounds like a great solution. And sounds more reliable than putting my girlfriend to work. I'll make her learn to cook one of these days, but we'll start on something that doesn't use imported italian rice :)

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just pre cook the risotto but keep it on the undercooked-crunchy side. then grill your steaks and when their resting re-heat your risotto with more broth and finish with butter and cheese. some people will swear me off on this,,but trust me,,you'll never know the difference. have a great time!

Contrary to popular opinion, risotto doesn't require *constant stirring*. Once every 5 minutes or so is enough in the early stages and 2 - 3 minutes near the end. When your risotto is about 2/3rds of the way there, start your steaks. Flip them once when your almost there and then take them off and rest them while you add the cheese and finishing touches to the risotto.


PS: I am a guy.

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