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Cooking risotto without wine?


Jan Primus
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Not after the box has been opened though, right?

Luckily, wrong :)

The wine inside is stored in an airtight bladder that lets wine out but doesn't let air in, so because there's almost no oxidation. The wine inside, unexposed to air, will be as good as the day the box was opened even weeks later.

Do these only come in larger sizes though?

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Do these only come in larger sizes though?

They only come in larger sizes, sure, but they're much cheaper anyhow, that you could afford to use only half of one and still save. You should be able to get through the whole thing before it goes bad, though.

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Boxed wine usually keeps quite well for months, even in rather brutal conditions. My parents kept some on hand as cooking wine on the countertop. Even in the heat of summer (no A/C unless the thermometer broke 85F), it would stay pleasant and drinkable for around 3 months. A box of wine usually doesn't last much longer than that with 5 adults around to use it for daily cooking.

I've made plenty of risotto with boxed wine, or with no wine, or with no stock. IME, the key thing is to plan your flavors based on what you have on hand. A fairly sweet boxed rose is not going to go well in a risotto loaded with broccoli, and a spinachy risotto won't like an oaky red. An austere parmesan risotto works well even when all you've got is water for the liquid. A lemon heavy risotto might not work *except* with the rose wine. It all depends on what you're throwing at it.

If you've got a rice loving household, it's not a bad idea to spend several months working through a risotto as often as you can stand. Try different vegetables, different wines, different stocks, no stock, cheeses that you think might work, "quick" techniques... The effort I've put in on making risotto a part of my default dishes that I can turn out well without a recipe was worth it. I've now got a nice reliable technique that I can use to dress up almost any vegetable. I haven't been as exhaustive with protein varients, since I'm usually pretty budget constrained.

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I would like to add a couple of things to this discussion:

1) if you use wine (in any dish), use only a wine that you would drink - if it's disagreeable to drink the taste of the wine will effect the taste of the dish

2) boxed wine also comes in 2 litres (at least in Oz)

3) most dry white wines, Riesling, Chardonnay, Semillon, etc are suitable for cooking (don't know about reds, don't drink, only use it occasionally for some stew/ragus).

ciao

Dario

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I use vermouth in place of white wine all the time, perhaps because I am greedy and want to save the wine for drinking :biggrin:

The sea was angry that day my friends... like an old man trying to send back soup in a deli.

George Costanza

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Most recipes I use involve a small amount of wine added to the sauteed rice and onions etc before adding the stock. The alcohol is burned off and the wine is reduced under high heat. I drink the rest of the wine.

I believe the wine adds a little complexity to the dish but I wonder if two samples were tasted side by side--wine vs no wine most people see a big difference--if at all.

i use vermouth in cooking quite a bit and it works nicely in place of basic white wine.

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Julia Child was a big proponent of using dry vermouth instead of white wine.  I've done it forever and am pleased with the results.  In my experience, if you get the wrong bottle of wine--white OR red--you can end up with some pretty funky flavors. 

The vermouth keeps, in or out of the refrigerator, for quite some time.

So, if I was to try this one more time - what type of vermouth - ie what brand - are we talking about?

Catherine

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I would like to add a couple of things to this discussion:

1) if you use wine (in any dish), use only a wine that you would drink - if it's disagreeable to drink the taste of the wine will effect the taste of the dish

I don't agree with this 100% ... it's true if the reason you won't drink it is bad flavor, but in many cases wines that have general qualities that you don't care for make excellent wines for cooking. A wine that's boring and two dimensional can work very well, as long as it has the basic qualities called for in the dish (acid, or full body, for example) because the subtleties of flavor and aroma will be cooked off anyhow. Red wine in particular is transformed by cooking and by the presence (or absence) of proteins in the food. Red wines that I would normally consider too insipid to drink (like most cheap merlots) can work great in cooked dishes and sauces, provided they have enough body to hold up.

I also find, as others have mentioned, that recorked wine that's been sitting in the fridge for days or weeks can be great in a sauce or a risotto. The oxidized flavors that make it unpleasant to drink don't seem to show up in the dish. Possibly because cooking will oxidize the bejeezus out of it anyhow?

Notes from the underbelly

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I would like to add a couple of things to this discussion:

1) if you use wine (in any dish), use only a wine that you would drink - if it's disagreeable to drink the taste of the wine will effect the taste of the dish

I believe this advice was addressing "cooking" wine vs table wine.

Cooking wine was/is a product wherein cheap wine is flavored and contains additives. :shock:

I believe it is still around. Someone can probably do a better job of describing it.

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Hi,

Another heathen here. I just open white, put it in the decanter and often use it a couple of weeks later. It sits beside the stove the rest of the time. I haven't made vinegar yet...

Jeff

Um, that's an idea. Keep some mother of vinegar in a covered gallon jar, and pour any leftover wine into it. If you have difficulty consuming leftover wine, that is. For me, cooking is done with leftover wine.

I agree that risotto doesn't have to include wine to taste good. A flavorful stock will also do the trick...but I like to use both.

Miriam

Miriam Kresh

blog:[blog=www.israelikitchen.com][/blog]

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Better options are...freezing the wine in the ice cube tray, and then keeping those wine cubes sealed airtight in the freezer.  I do the same thing with leftover lemon juice, lime juice, etc.

I'd be hesitant to freeze wine because of possible chemical degradations and repercussions (especially since the alcohol content will not react the same way as the water content and water/alcohol-soluble contents).

You needn't worry about that. The water and ethanol are miscible, making only one solution. The flavor components are soluble in that solution. As the solution freezes, it remains homogeneous with respect to its chemical components.

That said, I don't freeze wine either. I just drink whatever is left over from the cooking... which eliminates boxed wine as an option! :)

Personally, while wine is not necessary to make risotto, I prefer to add it because I like the flavor it contributes. Of course, I only use wine if I am making the risotto with a white stock like chicken or veal. Otherwise, I think it would be out of place!

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I would like to add a couple of things to this discussion:

1) if you use wine (in any dish), use only a wine that you would drink - if it's disagreeable to drink the taste of the wine will effect the taste of the dish

I don't agree with this 100% ... it's true if the reason you won't drink it is bad flavor, but in many cases wines that have general qualities that you don't care for make excellent wines for cooking. A wine that's boring and two dimensional can work very well, as long as it has the basic qualities called for in the dish (acid, or full body, for example) because the subtleties of flavor and aroma will be cooked off anyhow. Red wine in particular is transformed by cooking and by the presence (or absence) of proteins in the food. Red wines that I would normally consider too insipid to drink (like most cheap merlots) can work great in cooked dishes and sauces, provided they have enough body to hold up.

All other things being equal, I agree with you. If you have two decent wines, one of them being incredibly nuanced and the other being pretty straight forward, they'll probably taste the same after being cooked. The nuance would be lost as volatiles. However, many wines have off-flavors that intensify through cooking.

The most common off-flavor in wine that I use for cooking is, in my opinion, oak. If you reduce it even by a little, you drive off all the wine flavors and end up with something that tastes like a two by four.

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Julia Child was a big proponent of using dry vermouth instead of white wine.  I've done it forever and am pleased with the results.  In my experience, if you get the wrong bottle of wine--white OR red--you can end up with some pretty funky flavors. 

The vermouth keeps, in or out of the refrigerator, for quite some time.

So, if I was to try this one more time - what type of vermouth - ie what brand - are we talking about?

Catherine

I've used Noilly Prat in the past and found it just fine. At the moment I have a huge bottle of some Italian brand that someone else came home with. Can't say I prefer one over the other.

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I've had good luck with Martini and Rossi Dry vermouth. I subscribe to the Julia Child thought of using it in place of white wine. In some recipes, though I reduce the amount used, then taste and adjust.

Absolutely make sure it's DRY vermouth. Sweet vermouth will whack your dish.

"Tell your friends all around the world, ain't no companion like a blue - eyed merle" Robert Plant

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