Risotto recipes to cook together.
Risotto is an essential part of Italian cuisine
Risotto might not be quite as popular as pizza or pasta but nevertheless it is still a big part of Italian dining culture. The name risotto comes from the word riso that is Italian for rice and the dish is traditionally served as a first course. However today risotto is also eaten as the main course in many restaurants and families around the world. Risotto is said to originate from the Milan area in Northern Italy.
The role of rice in risotto
As the name suggests, rice plays an important role in risotto. In the classic definition risotto is described as a “rice dish cooked with broth until it reaches a creamy consistency”. To achieve this the rice variety used in risotto needs to have some specific features. The low-amylose content rice varieties are usually used, because they are better in absorbing the liquid and releasing starch. This results in more sticky risotto. Such rice varieties are white rice with medium or short grains.
In Italy common rice varieties for risotto have typically been for example Arborio, Maratelli, Baldo, Carnaroli, Padanoa and Roma. Even these rice varieties have their differences as some of them cook faster and some are more efficient in absorbing the broth.
All risotto recipes are based on same principles
There can be many different ingredients in risotto recipes but what is common to almost each and everyone of them is the use of suitable rice and the method of cooking. Risotto recipes are not as simple and easy to cook as for example many pastas, since risotto requires constant actions from the cook.
The first step in risotto recipes is to notice that the rice should not be rinsed before cooking. This is to retain all the starch in the rice. The actual risotto making process begins with cooking the rice in a pan with some onion and olive oil or butter.
Many risotto recipes have white wine as one key ingredient and this liquid is then added to the pan for the rice to absorb. The next step is to boil the risotto while gently stirring and adding the broth in small proportions. During this part also many of the other ingredients such as vegetables etc. are added to the risotto.
The last part of risotto recipes covers the finale when the rice is ready. This part is called mantecare which generally means to whip, beat it or stir vigorously, to create a smooth, creamy consistency in the risotto.