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Risotto the Italian Art of Food. Learn Secrets

Endless of variations

About the rice. Mushroom risotto recipes. How to boil. Best advice by Jamie Oliver

THE ART OF RISOTTO: The history is tied of Italy where each region has its own relationship with the short-grained rice. The Arabs brought rice to Sicily and Spain in the 14th century. Italy was the ideal place to grow rice, and risotto became a main part of Italian food culture. Risotto contains only five basic ingredients: rice, butter, onion, wine and stock. Soft onion before rice is added and each grain coated in fat or oil, a process called tostatura, followed by wine and stock.

Cheddar and spring onion with balsamic tomatoes
Cheddar and spring onion with balsamic tomatoes

The right rice

Start to select the best rice and go with one of these four to play with: Arborio, Baldo, Carnaroli or Vialone nano. Experiment and find which works for you.
Arborio is generally wider and longer. It is less starchy and takers longer to absorb the wine and stock.
Baldo is the quickest cooking of the rices and used in restaurants.
Carnaroli is the rice of choice in most regions of Italy, except Veneto. The creamiest risotto and is harder to overcook than Arborio.
Vialone nano is used in the Veneto region, can absorb twice the weight in liquid. It creates an extremely creamy, though takes longer to cook.

Rule #1 – Keep it simple

This is how to make risotto, and there are four classic ways to cook a fabulous dish.
Rule #1; Keep it simple and don´t add more than one or two main ingredients.
Cook rice: Warm the vegetable stock in a small saucepan and set it on the back burner over low heat. The cooking process allows the rice to release its starches creating a velvety sauce.
Stirring is vital, because you need to knock the grains of rice together, which makes the texture creamier. Use a wooden spoon, and stir regularly adding the hot liquid little by little. If it´s dry it will seem stodgy rather than silky. Normally cook for 18-20 minutes. Finally, cold butter is added and served with parmesan as main course or part of a main meal.

After added butter and Parmesan, the rice should have a certain fluidity.
Warning #1: Adding chilly stock to a hot pan will cool everything down and mess up the cooking process.

Reputation for being fussy has prevented many a home cook from trying it at all, let alone for a dinner. Risotto must be saucy but not soupy, and requires repeated stirring for almost half an hour, and need to be eaten once ready. Then the warm bowl feels luxurious and always makes me feel like a winner.

Fake Risotto in Italy 

After investigating in Italy, and talking with locals and some chefs, I learned that the simple is best. You don´t need a long list of ingredients to make delicious food. But you need quality and ingredients should be star of the show.
I also learned that risotto is not any longer simply a risotto. It could be Fake Risotto, made of anything else but not rice. Most likely by Chef Massimo Minutelli and his staff at restaurant La Griglia di Varrone in Lucca. This is not fake news, but real and tasty food.

REAL TASTE: Chef Massimo Minutelli and his staff at restaurant La Griglia di Varrone in Lucca.
REAL TASTE: Chef Massimo and staff at restaurant La Griglia di Varrone in Lucca makes this “Fake Risotto”

Risotto around the World

The variations are endless. From a classic mushroom risotto to Chicken risotto, vegetable risotto, tomato, sweetcorn and bacon risotto, risotto with chicken and bacon, with scampi and chorizo, variations of slimming and vegan risotto are countless.

In the Polish variation, called kaszotto, uses pearl barley instead of short-grain rice.
Risotto is a universal messenger of Italian culinary traditions and lifestyle. When you travel the world – ask for a national risotto, and eat and cook like a local.

MY WAY: Read on and click for the best risotto made of chef Jamie Oliver
MY WAY: Read on and click for the best risotto made of chef Jamie Oliver

Jamie Oliver with garlic

This is what the British chef Jamie Oliver said: “Making a beautiful risotto is so easy! All it takes is a little love and care and this base recipe”.
Basically his recipe contains of the Italian ingrediencies. However, Jamie Oliver adds extras such as garlic, celery and dry white vermouth. And he also added: “Eat it as soon as possible, while the risotto retains its beautiful texture”.

Basic risotto recipe

This mushroom recipe serves four: 20g dried porcini mushrooms. 750ml chicken or vegetable stock. 3tbsp butter. 2 shallots, finely chopped. 300g risotto rice. 125ml dry white wine. 1tbsp olive oil. 250g mushrooms. 1tbsp flat-leaf parsley, chopped, plus extra to serve. 2tbsp hard cheese, grated, plus extra to serve.

Soak the dried porcini in 250ml boiling water for half an hour, then drain, reserving the water. Squeeze them dry. Add the mushroom water to the stock and bring it to gentle simmer. Melt 2tbsp butter in a frying pan and add the shallots, cook for one minute. Add the rice and soaked mushrooms and stir until the rice is coated in butter. Let the white wine bubble until wine is absorbed. Add stock until each batch has been absorbed. Heat olive oil and sauté the fresh mushrooms so they are cooked through. Season well and add the parsley, and the cheese. Stir briskly, remove from the heath. Add 1 tbsp butter. Garnish with parsley, sprinkle with cheese, and serve.

More inspiration: The Myth of Tiramisu and where is all began

Gudmund Lindbaek
Gudmund Lindbaek
Journalist founded King Goya online travel magazine. Meeting people for engaging stories. I´m off to uncover the best strategies for long life living. This is part of my venture “Around the World in 80 Lanes” – about travel, run sprint, staying fit! I just want a tiny slice of adventures to feel alive, and then excited to return home.


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