The Way to Risotto

Risotto is a versatile dish that requires a bit of time, technique and the right ingredients to achieve the best results. It all starts with good quality Italian rice, such as Arborio or Carnaroli, which will yield a velvety sauce and a firm al dente bite. Use homemade chicken broth or purchase the best quality low-salt, low-fat broth you can find.

The rice is sautéed in butter and oil, which helps it maintain its firm center. Broth is added a ladleful at a time and the rice is stirred constantly until the liquid is absorbed. The constant stirring allows the rice to absorb the broth and releases the rice’s natural starch, a must for creating a rich texture.

Some risottos are creamy; others are firmer and stickier. The outcome depends on the type of rice used, how long the rice is cooked, how much broth is used and the cook’s personal preference. Recently, a chef taught me a trick for waking up a drier risotto if desired: Just before removing from the heat, stir in a tablespoon or two of heavy cream. Good quality Parmigiano-Reggiano is usually the final garnish for risotto.

Gary – As a side dish, risotto would not be as much of a wine-pairing priority as it is when offered as the main course. To pair wine with a particular risotto, look past the basic dish to the ingredients that impact flavor and offer uniqueness, such as citrus juice or zest, cheese, meat or seafood and herbs. The amount of an ingredient will also affect the intensity of flavor. Consider these factors for the best wine choice.

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