The King of Rice Dishes... and the Most Time Consuming.
If you really want to appreciate a fine risotto, I believe you need to be a vanilla ice-cream kinda person. I’m thinking the kind of person who can just enjoy the pure flavor and texture of well made ice cream. Now, we’re not talking about flavorless, bland, generic ice cream. That stuff is only good for… I don’t really know... feeding pigs?
Anyway, you might wonder what, exactly, ice cream has to do with risotto. It’s simple - risotto is a dish that shines best without a lot of stuff to it. The focus of the dish is the rice; that creamy, delicious Arborio that cooks down and falls apart, making its own sauce. You’ve got to season it, sure, and you can always add extra stuff, but if you put too much in, you overwhelm the flavor.
Just like vanilla ice cream.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with adding extra stuff to your ice cream (or risotto, for that matter). I mean, how could you pass up some bits of brownie, or a touch of caramel sauce on your vanilla ice cream? Well, you can’t, really. The same is true for a perfectly cooked risotto: add a bit of vegetable, or a few herbs, maybe some sautéed chicken, and you’ve got a beautiful thing!
The focus of the dish is the rice, and if you keep that in mind while cooking, you can’t help but make a fantastic meal. Treat the rice well, don’t cook it too hard, use a good, flavorful stock, and let the risotto be itself. Whatever you do, don’t treat it as a blank canvas on which to slap a hundred colors – the risotto is the masterpiece.
- Chef Savage
2 C ARBORIO RICE
12 C STOCK OR WATER (HOT)
1 C ONION, DICED
1 C WHITE WINE
¼ C OLIVE OIL OR BUTTER
Salt & Pepper to taste
In a large non-stick sauté pan heat ¼ c olive oil and sauté onions. Add rice and sauté for 2-3 minutes or until rice begins to toast (do not brown). Add white wine and allow wine to be absorbed by the rice over medium heat. Add 1/3 rd of the volume of stock or water and stir with a wooden spoon. Reduce heat to low. As rice absorbs liquid add more until rice is al dente (20-25) min. Season to taste. Cool on sheet tray.
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