Come fare il risotto
How to make Italian risotto: step-by-step photo directions
Risotto is one of the typical dish of Italian cuisine. We Italians have the habit to make risotto in the North of Italy; in fact rice is cooked in other ways in the South. Chance may have led to the risotto recipe: a too lively boiling or the necessity to cook in large and shallow pans where the water must be added a little at a time. The tradition ascribes the most famous risotto to Milan (Milanese risotto, made with saffron); it dates back to 1474 when a young man, engaged in the restoration of S. Helen's window in Milan's Duomo, was reprimanded because he had the habit of using too much saffron to color the backgrounds. He was said:"you'd put that yellow color in the soup too!". So when he got married, he prepared a rice soup colored in yellow with saffron. But it's a legend, for sure ;))
Italian risotto how-toThere are a lot of recipes based on risotto in Italy. You can combine rice with meat, fish, vegetables, cheese or pulses. In this page I want to teach you the step-by-step method that allow you to prepare every kind of recipe.
At first I'm going to list some tips that I have learned in many years.
A detailed explanation, accompanied by photos, below!
- - What is the right pan? use a stainless, large and shallow pan with an heavy and thick bottom so you can add boiling water a little at a time.
- - How to stir? The best thing is to use a wooden spoon to stir but I have to say the secret for making a tasty risotto is not to stir continuously (the rice grains could break) with a few exceptions: some recipes made with pumpkin or other puréed vegetables that tend to stick to the bottom of the pan if you do not stir continuously.
- - Prepare all the ingredients so as not to lose time and the cooking must not be interrupted.
- - For making a tasty risotto it is necessary to prepare some stock; it must be not too salted and it is different for every recipe. You have to keep it boiling continuously so you can add it everytime it's necessary. For the quantity: it's enough to prepare about 1,5l (3.2 pints - 6 1/3 cups) stock for 400g (14 ounces) rice.
- - The proportions of all your ingredients are very important. The most common ingredient is the onion; use 10g (1/3 ounce) per 100g (3 1/2 ounces) rice. If you want and can use butter: 20g (3/4 ounces) per head. But remember that in many cases butter can be replaces with olive oil for a healthy recipe (2 teaspoons per head). You can also substitute onion with chives.
- - You have to add some wine to risotto in one of the initial steps. The choice is among red or white or rosé or sparkling wines. I use white wine with fish and vegetables, red wine with meat, pulses and cheese. Do not overuse with wine, follow the doses of the recipe.
- - And finally, the right variety of rice. Remember to use long grain, parboiled rice or every variety able to disperse little starch; it is demonstated it is very useful for the final step too when some creamy ingredients can be added to risotto (mantecare).
- - Mantecare ... what's the meaning ot this Italian word? mantecare consists in adding (when cooking is complete, once turned off the heat) butter or cream or Parmesan cheese, stir and let risotto rest for a couple of minutes, before serving. You are not obliged to stir in always creamy ingredients; sometimes you just need to sprinkle your risotto with chopped fresh or dried herbs or add flavor with some spice. In some cases all these steps are advisable.
- - Your risotto should be creamy, not too dry. The best thing is to turn off the stove when the stock has not yet well reduced and let it rest in the pan for a couple of minutes. You'll gain the double purpose of getting the right texture and not to serve a too hot dish.
Let's see now my step-by-step explanation accompanied by photos.
This bean risotto serves two. You can make this recipe of mine all year round: in summer with fresh beans and in winter with dried or canned beans. If you use dried beans, remember to soak them overnight and to boil until tender. They must be added to risotto five minutes before the end of cooking.
Click on every photo to enlarge it!
Making a good risotto seems not an easy task but in reality you just need a little practice as in all things ;))
So, in summary, the essential steps for making a good risotto are:
- - preparing all vegetables to fry slightly (Italian soffritto)
- - frying slightly onions and all you need for the specific recipe
- - adding rice and letting it brown
- - pouring in wine and letting it evaporate
- - adding stock little at a time
- - adding other ingredients if necessary and according to recipe directions
- - adding butter, cream or cheese to your risotto or sprinkling aromatic herbs .... once turned off the stove
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