Risotto is one of our favorite go to dishes and we love making this recipe: ‘Parmesan Risotto with Mushroom & Asparagus’. It’s luxurious and elevates any meal. It’s especially great for dinner parties and date nights in. Bonus points if you’re cooking this meal with your significant other. It’s always more fun cooking together!
Risotto takes time and attention making it a true labor of love. We like to pour ourselves a nice glass of wine, put on some great music, and get to work in the kitchen. With risotto it’s all about low and slow. Yes, it takes time (around 30 minutes), but when done right it’s absolutely worth it. Plus, we find the ladling of the broth and stirring of the risotto quite relaxing – it’s almost like meditation!
I (Emily) first learned how to make risotto while attending culinary school at The Culinary Institute of America. In fact, my arancini ended up winning as best appetizer of the day during our Italian cooking segment!
Another tip I learned from attending culinary school in regards to risotto is that consistency is key. You must cook your risotto to ‘all’onda’ consistency which means “like a wave”. When your risotto is all’onda it means that just enough of the surface starches have been released to hold the risotto together, but the grains are loose and have not solidified. When you plate your risotto it should ooze out onto the plate a bit and then you’ll know you have the right consistency. Remember, the release of starch turns into a decadent creamy sauce!
Tips for Making the Best Risotto
- Use the right rice. Risotto needs a high starch rice and we prefer using arborio rice. It has a tendency to create a thicker, creamier sauce. We love using Village Harvest arborio rice and there’s also a fantastic recipe on the bag that makes a lovely standard risotto. Use this coupon for one dollar off!
- Toast the rice. This step is very important as toasting the rice keeps it from getting mushy and helps it hold onto its structure. Learn more about arborio rice here: http://villageharvestrice.com/products/arborio/
- Add wine! We love cooking with wine (more recipes using wine coming soon). Most risotto recipes call for a dry white wine and there’s also some that even call for red wine. Not only does wine deepen the flavor it also adds to the overall elegance of this dish!
- Make sure your broth is warm. We can’t stress this enough! If you add cold broth to your rice it actually slows the cooking process down and can lead to mushy unevenly cooked risotto. Adding warm broth one ladle at a time is a crucial step in cooking risotto. This slow addition of warm cooking liquid is key to getting the rice to release its starch and create a creamy, satisfying sauce.
- The pan you cook with is important. Cook with a heavy pan. A thick, heavy bottommed pan helps distribute heat evenly and prevent burning. Also, a stainless steel or enameled interior won’t react with acidic ingredients such as white wine. Our suggestions for what pans to use are linked in the ‘Risotto Equipment’ below.
Recipe: Parmesan Risotto with Mushroom & Asparagus
Do you have a favorite risotto recipe? Let us know if the comments below!
Emily & Barbara