A creamy yet al dente risotto is is easier to master then you think. Despite having a reputation for being a tricky dish, once you master the key steps, there are no limits to the flavours variations you can create.
These 5 key steps will ensure you get a gorgeously creamy risotto every time:
1. Use the best rice you can find
Arborio rice is the most common rice used to make risotto and it’s readily available so handy to boot, although look out for carnaroli rice in specialist food stores and green grocers as it can elevate your risotto to next level. Carnaroli rice is the first choice of many Italian chefs for cooking the perfect risotto. This rice tends to retain its texture and not over-cook easily.
2. Prepare your risotto ingredients ahead
Measure, chop and have all of your ingredients ready and close at hand so you don’t leave your risotto unattended while you get them. Also, get your serving bowls ready to go as risotto is a dish best served immediately.
3. Warm the broth / stock before starting the risotto
The secret to a faster and creamier risotto is to warm the stock first. Warming the stock before adding it to the dish coaxes more starch out of each rice grain – this helps to cook the rice faster and to elicit that creaminess. Cool stock / broth will take longer to warm up in the risotto pan and may allow the grain to hold onto its starches while the rice cooks.
4. Add vegetables to the risotto at the right moment
This depends on the type of vegetables you are using ie are they fast or slow cooking.
For fast cooking veggies like spinach and mushrooms, add them closer to the end of the cook. The same goes for fresh herbs like chives, parsley or basil.
Slow-cooking veggies such as pumpkin or sweet potato will need to be added at the very beginning OR roasted in the oven for extra flavour and then stirred in just towards the end.
5. Risotto is ready when the rice is al dente
Like pasta, you want your risotto to be al dente. It must have a soft, starchy outer but still have a little bit of ‘bite’ in the centre. You want to see that your rice has a clear outer, but still see a very slightly white centre inside the grain.
Risotto recipes to try
Now that you have the skills to create a fantastic risotto, check out our hearty recipe collection:
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