“Risotto /rᵻˈzɒtɒ/ (Italian: [riˈzɔtto] or [riˈsɔtto]) is a northern Italian rice dish cooked in a broth to a creamy consistency. The broth can be derived from meat, fish, or vegetables. Many types of risotto contain butter, wine, and onion. It is one of the most common ways of cooking rice in Italy. There are many different risotto recipes with different ingredients, but they are all based on rice of an appropriate variety, cooked in a standard procedure. The rice is first cooked briefly in a soffritto of onion and butter or olive oil, to coat each grain in a film of fat, called tostatura; white or red wine is added and must be absorbed by the grains. When it has evaporated, then the heat is raised to medium high, and very hot stock is gradually added in small amounts, while the concoction is stirred gently, almost constantly: stirring loosens the starch molecules from the outside of the rice grains into the surrounding liquid, creating a smooth creamy-textured liquid. At that point, the pot is taken off the heat for the mantecatura (the point when diced cold butter is vigorously stirred in), to make the texture as creamy and smooth as possible. It may be removed from the heat a few minutes earlier and left to cook with its residual heat. Properly cooked risotto is rich and creamy, but has some resistance or bite (al dente) and separate grains. The traditional texture is fairly fluid, or all’onda(“wavy, or flowing in waves”). It is served on flat dishes and should easily spread out but not have excess watery liquid around the perimeter. It must be eaten at once, as it continues to cook in its own heat and can become too dry with the grains too soft.” (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Risotto)
Is my blog very boring with such a long introduction of Risotto? I did that extract because it explains most of the thing that I did and I AM NO EXPERT in cooking Italian food nor Western food. I am still learning and what I did is to explain to Asian readers how I prepare the dish. Being a dish rather new to me, I have nothing much to tell you about the recipe except that it is a delicious dish which i think will suit the taste buds of the younger generation in the region.
My role as a blogger is to introduce new recipes to my readers and to bridge the gap of the authentic recipe and tailored to suit the palate of the foodies in the region. I usually simplified the recipe based on availability of local ingredients and cooking resources. But for this illustration, I have used the long winded traditional method to cook the rice over the stove. Well, I have been cooking rice all these while, I can always play cheat to get what it looks like risotto in the internet images, but as a respect to traditional recipe, I did not do that, I followed what I am supposed to follow and I learned through this process too. Possibly in my next attempt, i will share with readers how to do it using the short cut method..
Risotto is famous for its deliciousness but the preparation is laborious. Hark work possibly because you need to constantly stir the rice over the stove until the rice is fluffy and get cooked. If you cannot imagine the tediousness, it is just like Chinese style of stir frying glutinous rice as in this post: Stir Fried Glutinous Rice Dish (生炒腊味糯米饭）. But I can assure you that preparing risotto is easier than stir frying glutinous rice because it is not as sticky as glutinous rice that stuck over over the wok. Constant stirring is required to ensure even heat distribution and it will not burnt at the bottom..
If you have never tried risotto before and unsure how it tastes like, i can tell you it is something like an addictive creamy grainy porridge. It is not as watery as rice porridge but a cheesy saucy rice. The sauce is actually not from the cream but from the rice starches that make it creamy. However, usually cheese is added to make it creamier. To make this recipe, short grain rice such as calrose or pearl rice is required. These rice are stickier when cooked and original recipe will require you to buy risotto rice such as Arborio, Baldo, Carnaroli, Maratelli, Padano, Roma, and Vialone Nano. But I really do not know where to buy these rice in Singapore and from this illustration, I concluded that rice suitable for sushi generally is great for this recipe. Sushi rice is easily available in any supermarket here.
It is not my intention to blog this recipe but my boy is asking me to cook risotto repetitively. I am rather shocked when I first heard of his request. I think he must have remembered the only time he had risotto in an Italian restaurant and as always, he has good memories on the foods that he ate and liked at restaurant. Since he had repetitively requested for this, I have decided to research and cooked this dish for the family. I am happy that the whole family enjoy this unique rice dish and I should say it is a successful batch though I am unwilling to say that it is authentic. The only regret is that it seems that 2 cups is not enough for a family of four.
WHAT IS REQUIRED
Servings: 4 adult servings
- 2 cups of short grain rice such as calrose or arborio
- 4 stripes of streak bacons
- 100 grams of button mushrooms
- 12 pieces of prawns (optional)
- 30 grams of butter
- 75 grams of parmesan cheese, shredded
- 1/2 cup of red or white wine
- 6-8 cups of chicken broth
- 1 onion
- Salt to taste
- Dashes of black pepper
STEPS OF PREPARATION
- Wash the rice and set aside.
- Cut the mushrooms into small pieces, clean and shell the prawns and minced the onion and set aside.
- In a pan or skillet, put 1/2 of the butter, pan fry the prawns until cooked which took about 1-2 minutes. Set aside.
- Use the same pan to pan fry the bacon until crispy or your desired texture, drain and cut into small pieces. Set aside.
- Use the same pot to stir fry the mushrooms until soft and aromatic. If there is a need, add some water to facilitate the stir frying. Dish out and set side.
- Put the other half of the butter into the pot, sauté the minced onion until soft. Add the washed rice, sauté for a minute or two until the rice dries up. Add 1/2 cup of wine and stir fry until the rice almost dries up. From now onwards, reduce the heat to medium, add 1 cup of chicken broth, stir until well mixed, let the rice simmer until almost dry,stir again before adding another cup of chicken broth. This process shall be repeated until the rice is cooked, fluffy,soft and unable to absorb anymore water. The entire process may takes about 20-30 minutes depending on type of rice and the heat. If you are using a normal pan, constant stirring is required but if you are using a non stick pan, a quick stir in between the addition of water shall be adequate.
- Off the heat and add in pinches of salt, dashes of black pepper the shredded cheese, cut bacons, pan fried prawns and mushrooms. Stir vigorously until the cheese melted and it can be served immediately. If it is too dry to your liking, feel free to add in more chicken broth or fresh milk or water.
I hope this recipe will not scare aware readers who loves risotto. Like what I said, there are short cut using rice cookers and I am sure readers can think of way of pre-cooked the rice in rice cooker possibly by adding a bit less water, once the rice is soft, transfer the stove to boil for a few minutes to get the creamy textures followed by adding your favourite side ingredients and cheeses. However, the rice should be grainy and not mushy. Even using traditional method of preparation, personally i find that it is worth the effort.
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