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Old 09-04-2009, 07:00 PM   #1
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Risotto problems

So I tried to make risotto last night, something I've done before, but it's been awhile. Here's what I did:

Bring a pot of chicken stock to a boil, reduce to simmer

Saute chicken and shallots, remove from pan

add more oil and butter, put the rice in, toss it in the oil for a couple minutes until the grains begin to look clear

add wine, let it cook for a few minutes

add some stock, stir until it absorbs, repeat until consistency seems about right - at this point it's been about 20 minutes since I started adding stock.

taste, notice that grains are still chalky tasting.

add more stock, stir until it absorbs, repeat until I ran out of stock (which i hadn't measured)

begin heating some water in the pot formerly used for stock.

add some water, stir it in.

I kept this up for some time, most of the rice seemed cooked properly (or even overcooked) but some of the grains never lost that chalkiness. Eventually I thought maybe it was some of it wasn't getting enough heat even though I tried to stir it pretty constantly to get the stuff on top to the bottom, so I tried covering the pot and leaving it for 10 minutes on low heat, that didn't seem to help either. so I went back to stirring. By the time I gave up the rice had been cooking for close to an hour and a half.

Has anyone else encoutered this? what went wrong and how do I prevent it next time?

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Old 09-04-2009, 08:44 PM   #2
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Russ, what kind of rice did you use?
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Old 09-04-2009, 08:52 PM   #3
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I agree what kind of rice? Was it Arborio?
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Old 09-04-2009, 09:11 PM   #4
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How old was the rice?
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Old 09-04-2009, 10:36 PM   #5
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The rice was Arborio, purchased last week, Berretti was the brand, I believe.

Edit: Just went and looked at the container, Berretta was the brand.
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Old 09-05-2009, 09:45 AM   #6
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Was the wine you added warm or cold? It sounds to me as though you might have "shocked" the rice causing it to stay hard in the middle and not absorb that yummy stock. Other than that you did it all perfectly IMO. I like to stir a bit more constantly but that shouldn't have made the difference. I do suspect the cold wine would be your culprit.
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Old 09-05-2009, 10:29 AM   #7
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The wine was room temperature. It's been awhile since I've made risotto, but I don't remember heating the wine in the past.
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Old 09-05-2009, 10:36 AM   #8
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It doesn't need to be hot or anything. Just NOT cold. Without actually seeing and tasting your final product its hard for me to be helpful. Sorry! I've made a lot of risotto and that was one of the mistakes I made a few times at first. If the rice gets shocked then you might just as well pitch it all in the garbage because nothing you do will fix it. It has a hard center and tastes like licking a chalkboard.

One of the tips I read also suggests you only use olive oil to start and use butter to finish. I doubt that would have much effect on the rice grains as you describe though.
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Old 09-05-2009, 11:06 AM   #9
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I've never paid attention to the temp of the wine. Sometimes I use room temp vermouth and sometimes I use SO's cold sauvignon blanc. I have not experienced the problem Alix describes. Maybe I've just been lucky.

My only guess is that it's the rice. I can't explain it but it seems like that's the reasonable solution.

BTW, you should be able to get the rice cooked and the broth absorbed in no more than a half hour of adding and stirring. If it takes longer than that, you need to go with higher heat.
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Old 09-05-2009, 11:06 AM   #10
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Russellkhan, have you ever made kasha? Which is essentially the Ukrainian version of risotto. Its made the same way only with buckwheat instead of rice. Very tasty but you don't put cheese in at the end or cream, just a pat of butter and lots of salt!
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