Risotto questions, and a hello!

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Risotto questions, and a hello!

Postby Scott Hinson » Mon Jul 24, 2006 5:26 pm

Hello everyone. This is my first post, but I have been lurking unregistered for a while. I think these forums are great, with very high useful information content!

I have a question about risotto. My wife and I just got back from a trip to Italy where I experienced quality risotto for the first time. (Italian food in Austin isn't the greatest.) Since we've returned I have made it several times using recipes from cookbooks and the web. In general the recipes all have the following basic steps.

Sauté 1.5 to 2 cups Arborio or other short grain rice in butter until clear, but not brown.

Add 2/3 to 1 cup dry white wine.

Add 6 to 8 cups hot stock/broth in small amounts while stirring frequently.

Other ingredients are added as desired for flavor.

I’ve gotten very good results, creamy, excellent flavor etc. Mostly I’ve been using home made chicken stock or vegetable broth or both, but sometimes I revert to store bought. However, after the risotto sits for more than a few minutes it gums up and becomes overly sticky. We would like to serve this at a dinner party where we can make it ahead of time, and be ready about an hour before serving, but I don’t want to serve a flavorful scoop of mush. We didn’t see this problem in Italy, and in many cases the kitchens were easily visible…they just scooped out our risotto and brought it out.

Is it too much stirring activating the gluten/starches?

Not enough liquid, too much liquid?

Is there anything I can add that would aid in it staying creamy?


Thanks for your help!

Scott
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Re: Risotto questions, and a hello!

Postby Stuart Yaniger » Mon Jul 24, 2006 5:44 pm

First off, you want to get some finely chopped onions sauteeing and softened before adding the rice. Second, you should experiment with rices other than arborio- vialone nano and carnaroli are both quite excellent and can give you some more texture options.

In restaurants, the risotto is usually undercooked, then when it's time to serve, it's reheated with a further boiling stock addition; don't worry about overstirring and don't be afraid to add lots of stock or broth to thin things out. The risotto should be a bit thinner than you want when it's ready to serve. Don't add any cheese until just before it's time to put the rice into a serving dish.

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Re: Risotto questions, and a hello!

Postby John Tomasso » Mon Jul 24, 2006 6:53 pm

Welcome to the forum.

Here's a trick caterers use: collect some old tomato paste cans, or some ring molds.
Cook your rice until it's almost there, but not quite - you want it just a touch underdone, and I mean just a touch.
Lay it out flat on a sheet pan and refrigerate so it cools quickly.
Once cooled, stuff the rice into the molds and center each mold in the serving bowl. The rice should hold together when you remove the mold. You'll probably mess a few up before you get the hang of it.

When ready to serve, have some broth simmering. Place a ladle full of the hot broth into the bowl around the "risotto tower" and have the guest knock the rice down into the broth. The heat of the broth will finish cooking the risotto as they eat it.

OR

you could cook it 3/4 of the way, cool it on the sheet pan, and then when you want to serve it, just finish with enough addition of broth or stock until it's done. You should be able to get it to the table pretty quickly.
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Re: Risotto questions, and a hello!

Postby Scott Hinson » Mon Jul 24, 2006 7:02 pm


First off, you want to get some finely chopped onions sauteeing and softened before adding the rice. Second, you should experiment with rices other than arborio- vialone nano and carnaroli are both quite excellent and can give you some more texture options.


I should have mentioned the onions, I do saute those before adding the rice. I will go looking for the other rices too!


In restaurants, the risotto is usually undercooked, then when it's time to serve, it's reheated with a further boiling stock addition; don't worry about overstirring and don't be afraid to add lots of stock or broth to thin things out. The risotto should be a bit thinner than you want when it's ready to serve. Don't add any cheese until just before it's time to put the rice into a serving dish.


Next time I try it I will do this. Maybe I'll make my parents, or in-laws test subjects this weekend! :twisted:



OT: Where do you source your tweeters?


Mostly we use Peerless (now Tymphany), but recently they discontinued quite a few drivers we like. :evil: Seas, Morel and other brands only available to OEM's are also in the mix. [/quote]
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Re: Risotto questions, and a hello!

Postby Stuart Yaniger » Mon Jul 24, 2006 7:20 pm

but recently they discontinued quite a few drivers we like.


Audax did that to me, damn their eyes.

For creaminess and very separate grains with an al dente core, the carnaroli is the one to get. But remember, things always do thicken up on the plate, so lots of liquid is the rule.
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Re: Risotto questions, and a hello!

Postby Jenise » Tue Jul 25, 2006 3:40 pm

Scott, you got the answers you needed so there's naught for me to do but to welcome you to our kitchen table, so welcome!
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Re: Risotto questions, and a hello!

Postby Bill Buitenhuys » Tue Jul 25, 2006 4:24 pm

Welcome Scott
Looks like you got some great advice here so far.
I like shallot instead of onion for a bit more subtle flavor.

And to help the risotto not goop up too much I add lots of butter (4 TBS) and grated parm (a big handful) right at the end and let it all sit for 10mins prior to serving.
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