Leek Risotto [Food52] (Photo by James Ransom)
Sometimes, especially as the cold weather seeps in, we crave something indulgent. Risotto is a true stick-to-your ribs dish that we can recreate all season long. Today we are breaking down the steps to help you kick this meal up a notch.
Risotto refers to a classic Italian preparation of rice. This special method results in a creamier, heartier grain-based dish. Here are a few things you will need on hand before starting: your short-grain rice of choice, some oil and/or butter, and some stock or broth for cooking. Since the grains soak up a generous amount of broth, a good rule of thumb is about 4 cups of broth to 1 cup of uncooked rice. Last, but certainly not least, don't forget any other flavors you want to add to the dish such as meats, fish, vegetables, cheese, and herbs.
Risotto is typically made using arborio rice -- which is a short grain, high-starch rice. These short grains are key to the dish, as their make-up is ideal to soak up all the flavors you're about to cook into them. They become juicy, creamy, and hearty. Other types of short-grain rice that work well in a risotto-style preparation include carnaroli and vialone nano. For a heartier (albeit less authentic!) version, you can even try using whole grains like farro or millet.
Farro Risotto [Food52] (Photo by Sarah Shatz)
There are a few simple steps to follow with any risotto preparation. Each part is amenable to all sorts of flavor profiles and textures -- but keep these simple rules in mind for a fail-proof dish.
Adding broth to the grains. (Photo by James Ransom)
Lemon and Toasted Almond Risotto [Food52] (Photo by James Ransom)
As with any pasta or grain-based dish, the condiments and add-ins are as endless as your imagination. Pick some fresh seasonal ingredients, and get to cooking. Here are a few ideas to help you along the way.
Corn Risotto Garnished with Bacon & Anchovy Sage Leaf Bite [Food52] (Photo by Sarah Shatz)
What's your favorite way to prepare risotto? Thinking of trying it in a new way? Share your comments below!
Like this post? See last week's From Scratch topic: All About Tofu.