Stop being so scared of risotto, it’s just rice, onion, stock and cheese. Ha! (You can say that again.) I started from the bottom on cooking this dish. I used to buy those packaged risotto rice flavored with mushrooms, strawberries or truffle. I just need to have my olive oil and stock, but I even messed that up. You wanna know how? I brought the stock to a boil and then took it off the heat while pouring it slowly with the rice. Hmmm, and then I wondered why the rice is all mushy. Hopeless.
Once I figured out that the stock needs to be simmering, I started using different types of rice to decide which one I prefer. Up to this day, I prefer carnaroli over arborio. I feel that they stay more translucent up to the end. (Nah, it’s probably all in my head)
After knowing what type of rice I like, I tried several variations, mushrooms, asparagus, peas, fennel, and my favorite, saffron :-). Saffron is one of my ‘comfort’ spice. Its color is welcoming and its subtle taste just warms me up. You have to be careful when using it, though, a little goes a long way.
Risotto with saffron is called Risotto alla Milanese. As you might have guessed, it originated from Milan. Veal stock is traditionally used for cooking the rice. I confess, though, I sometimes use chicken stock, but if I am serving the risotto with ossobuco, then I ALWAYS use veal stock. Layer the flavor, as they say in Masterchef 🙂
Oh! One last thing, I only use butter at the end, because I prefer it that way. You can always use half butter and half olive oil in the beginning, they say it makes it more creamy. Personally, it is creamy enough for me when I use it at the end with the parmigiano.
If you’re looking for more rice dishes, you might like these posts –
- Put a non-stick pan in low heat. Pour the olive oil. Once the oil is ready, put the finely chopped onion and cook until softened.
- Turn the heat up to medium and add the rice to the onion. Cook until the rice is properly coated with oil and quite translucent. This starts the creaming process of the rice. Do not forget that you must continue stirring the rice during this entire process.
- Pour the wine and let evaporate.
- Once the wine has evaporated, pour in a couple of ladles of the (simmering) stock. Turn the heat back to low.
- Add the powdered saffron and continue stirring.
- Once the stock has been absorbed by the rice, pour another ladle of stock into the rice. Keep doing this until the rice gets ALMOST cooked (still firm, not mushy). This should take around 17 minutes.
- Before turning off the heat, taste and season. Remember that the cheese will add a bit of saltiness as well.
- Turn off the heat and add in butter and parmigiano. Mix and then cover the pan. Set aside for 2 to 3 minutes and then serve.
- I normally season my stock while simmering so I only do a bit of seasoning in the rice, if at all.
- In case you ran out of stock, water is OK, but it has to be hot. The measurement of the stock in here is more than enough for the amount of rice.
- You can add more creaminess by using more butter at the end.