Risotto Primer

Okay folks, risotto is something that everyone should be able to prepare. It’s relatively quick to make (30 minutes start to finish), deliciously creamy, rich, and the variations that can be made are legion. It also is extremely versatile in that it can be a first course, main course or a side dish. Heck, you can even make deep-fried rice balls out of it that have got to be the some of the finest junk food known to man. With minor adjustments, it can be eaten by both vegetarians and meatatarians.

There are a number of different Italian rices that are normally used in risotto including; Arborio, Carnaroli, Baldo, Vialone Nano and Roma . Each is slightly different in how it tastes and what its texture is in the final dish. They all have the same cooking time though. Regular old white rice can be used but frankly, it makes pretty sucky risotto. The rice that is used most often, and can be found the most readily, is Arborio. A short grained rice from Italy, it normally comes in a 1-2 pound box or bag and runs about $5 a pound. Although it is now grown domestically by the likes of Lundberg, it doesn’t seem to develop the same creaminess as the imported stuff does.

Cooking risotto is a little more involved than adding rice to boiling water, covering it and turning down heat. It must be stirred almost constantly during the cooking process with liquid added at certain times.

Click here for the Basic Risotto recipe.