Risotto is an Italian dish that was originally eaten by peasants for breakfast, but which has risen in stature to become a highly regarded restaurant dish. It’s simple to make at home, but requires a bit of attention.Risotto is made from risotto rice cooked with stock. Other ingredients (such as vegetables, shellfish or meat) are then added, and the dish is usually finished off with a knob of butter and some Parmesan cheese, which is stirred through at the end of cooking.
The key to a successful risotto is the rice and the stirring. There are three main types of Italian risotto rice – arborio, carnaroli and vialone nano. Essentially they’re all starchy short-grain rices. The stock is added bit by bit to the rice and stirred frequently resulting in the classic creamy texture of a risotto. It shouldn’t be overcooked, but should still retain its characteristic al dente bite
All risotti are prepared in pretty much the same way. This page explains the standard method.
Basic risotto method
350 grams risotto rice
40 grams butter (or olive oil depending on the recipe)
1 small onion — finely chopped
1 clove garlic (if the recipe calls for it) — finely chopped
1.5 litres stock
1 glass dry white wine
Bring the stock to the boil and keep warm.
Melt the butter in a wide pan, add the onion (and garlic if needed), and cook over a low heat, stirring from time to time, until the onion has turned translucent – about 5 minutes.
Add the rice and stir until all the rice is coated with the butter.
Add the wine and cook until it has been completely absorbed, stirring all the time.
Add a ladle of the hot stock and stir until it has been absorbed.
Keep adding the stock in this way, a ladleful at a time, until the rice is cooked. It should take around 20 minutes. Test a grain of rice from time to time to see if it’s done.
Remove from the heat and leave to rest for a couple of minutes before serving.