Don’t be afraid of making risotto, it’s not difficult. You just need to pay attention and make sure that your stock is warm at all times – that is the key to good risotto. This keeps for a couple of days in the fridge and is really tasty when you re-heat (gives it time for the flavours to develop). You can make this the same way over and over just substitute mushroom for pumpkin or any other vegetable you would like to eat in risotto (beetroot, lemon and basil, tomato all work well).
“Nature alone is antique, and the oldest art a mushroom.” Thomas Carlyle
1 cup arborio rice
8 – 10 mushrooms (I like to use brown and cup mushrooms)
1 brown onion (diced)
1 clove garlic (crushed)
4 cups vegetable stock
1/2 cup dry white wine (you can leave this out it just adds flavour)
salt and pepper to taste
What do I do now?
Put your vegetable stock on low heat.
Lightly fry onion, garlic and mushrooms in olive oil.
Add rice and stir well, letting the rice toast a little in the olive oil.
Start pouring small quantities of stock over the rice mix and stir – keep on adding stock and stirring until the rice is soft.
You might need to add some stock to the pot if your rice isn’t soft and creamy.
See below for tips and tricks when making risotto!
Anything else I should know?
- Do not wash the rice before using. Water will start a premature release of starches from the rice.
- Use a pot that is wider than it is high.
- A wooden spoon with a flat edge (for getting into the corners of the pot) is the best utensil for making risotto.
- Frying the rice in olive oil toasts the kernels (providing nuttiness) but also coats them in fat, which helps prevent the kernels from releasing their starch too rapidly. This protects them from falling apart during the stirring process.
- Always use a simmering stock. By adding hot stock to the hot rice, you will prevent the delicate starches from hardening during the cooking process, which gives the risotto its silky texture.
- Add the hot stock only one ladleful at a time, stirring until all the liquid has been absorbed before adding the next batch.
- Make sure to test the risotto frequently as the stock runs low, to avoid overcooking. You may not need to use all of the stock or you may need more. When in doubt, undercook the risotto, as it will continue to cook while it sits.
- Stir, stir, stir. It is necessary to stir risotto constantly during the cooking process. This prevents the released starches from scorching on the bottom of the pan, and also helps incorporate the fat and starch to create the perfect texture.
- Risotto can be served either soft and runny or more on the firmer side, depending on how much stock you add at the end, and whether you let it absorb before serving.
- Serve your risotto immediately. The longer risotto sits the more liquid it absorbs, and the thicker it becomes.
- Any leftover risotto can be shaped into patties, coated in breadcrumbs, and fried in olive oil, to be served with a salad for lunch or dinner.