Risotto in a seemingly easy dish to make. At its basic there is rice, liquid, fat and seasonings. Ingredient selection and method is what makes a delicious risotto. Rice, the main event, must have a high surface-starch content. This is what gives the dish its creamy texture. Arborio is most commonly used. Many chefs prefer other rice varieties such as Vialone Nana and Carnaroli for their superior flavor the the textured derived from the surface starch.
The method used to coax the starch from the rice kernels involves constant stirring for 20 minutes while adding more liquid, usually a broth, as it is stirred. A chef's tip is to cook the risotto for about 15 minutes. The rice kernels should be very al dente. Spread the risotto on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet, cover with another piece of parchment paper. Let is cool at room temperature.
When you want to finish the risotto, place more butter and rice in the pot and finish with more liquid, stirring all the while. Keep at room temperature for up to 2 hours or refrigerate. The are a number of variations on risotto including ones with beets, red wine and saffron.
Santa Barbara, CA