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Old 11-23-2015, 09:20 AM   #1
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Risotto: how long to brown arborio rice before adding wine?


I love risotto, but am unfortunately rarely successful cooking it at home.

I cannot seem to imitate the creamy consistency I find in good Italian restaurants. I'm not referring so much to the sauce here as to the rice itself.

I generally brown the rice in butter for 3 minutes or so and then add wine and stock.

However, someone told me recently that this is too long.

Could that be a factor in my less-than-perfect risotto?
How long do you brown your rice?
Does it matter if olive oïl or butter is used to cook the rice before adding the liquid?

Best regards,
Alex R.

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Old 11-23-2015, 10:09 AM   #2
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This is the recipe I've been using for years with great success: http://www.cooks.com/recipe/d2hy79g/...p-risotto.html I use thyme instead of tarragon and pan-seared scallops instead of shrimp.

The key is adding warm stock a half cup at a time and stirring gently till it's completely incorporated. Before adding the stock, pour in a half cup of wine and stir till it's completely absorbed.

This, plus finishing with butter and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese at the end, will give you that great creamy texture.
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Old 11-24-2015, 09:39 AM   #3
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Alex - to me Risotto is an open book. I can add mushrooms and shallots or left over roasted butternut squash, left over baby spinach from a salad pack, asparagus tips. Really anything. My key is two things - and I am not a chef - it must be arborio rice and you must coat the rice with a fat before starting the cooking process. If I use mushroom I sauté them first add a little more EVOO and them toast for a minute until all the fat is absorbed, deglaze with white wine and then begin slowly adding my chicken stock while gently stirring/folding - you don't want to break up the rice. Keep adding hot chicken stock until the rice is tender but with a little bit as it will keep cooking. Do not hurry the stock addition, this is not a 5 minute dish. Season along the way not when it's at the table. Once the rice is done you can add whatever you want to add.
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Old 11-24-2015, 11:20 AM   #4
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Brown the rice until it smells toasty. You really don't want it to get very brown, just lightly toasted. And, like GG says, coated in fat. Then the white wine, then stock or broth in increments while stirring.

IMO the key to creamy risotto is using the correct type of rice (Carnaroli or Arborio) and "massaging" the stock/broth into the rice. I use a rubber spoonula.
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Old 11-24-2015, 03:51 PM   #5
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How long to brown rice before....

I have always found it takes patience to do a good risotto, as does a good polenta. The classic risotto rices are:

Arborio: large grains that are also long. Very good in risotto because the high content of starch is ideal for risotto;

Carnaroli: a cross between Vialone and Leoncino, large, uniform sized grains that absorb flavours easily and combine well with most ingredients. The most popular after Arborio in Italy.

Baldo: gourmet's rice, large, translucent grains, consistently reliable, high in starches, it absorbs extremely well and is the perfect risotto rice, and also rice dishes cooked in the oven.

Roma: Good all rounder, long grained and acclaimed for its versatility in cooking. Good not only for risotto, but also oven dishes, soups and as a binder in some recipes.

Vialone nano: medium sized grains, oval in shape, with characteristics similar to Carnaroli. Mostly used in North East Italy. Ready in about 13 minutes, and is also good for risotto.

Balilla: small roundish grains, good absorption and swells well in cooking. Usually used for soups, dessert dishes, rice moulds, and rice croquettes, such as supplì al telefono or Sicilian arancini.

To make a risotto, you need 200g risotto rice
100g dry white wine
Give or take a litre of stock
100g soffritto ( mix of equal quantities of carrot, onion and celery)
garlic if the recipe calls for it
olive oil or butter, depending what risotto you're making
Parmesan cheese. Quantities will vary according to the risotto you're making. You're looking for a loose, creamy finish to the dish.

Start by sweating the soffritto in the oil or butter.
Then add the rice. Watch it go translucent, and then only slightly golden, not browned. Now add the wine, evaporate off the alcohol, stir until the rice has absorbed the liquid. Now start adding the stock, in the same manner as you did the wine, and don't stop stirring. Have some extra stock on hand in case you need it at the end. Keep tasting the rice for doneness. It should be 'al dente' and there shouldn't be a hard core in the centre of the grain. The finished consistency of the risotto should be like a medium thick porridge.

If you're adding other ingredients, such as seafood, you need to start adding them along with the stock, to give the risotto flavour. For a vegetable risotto, you can add the vegetables after you've cooked the soffritto. If you're adding cheese, you add it last thing before serving.

Hope you don't mind me sending all this

di reston

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Old 11-25-2015, 06:28 AM   #6
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In the Po valley, Northern Italy, where the rice fields are, when the fields are flooded, and before the rice shoots appear above the surface, the area is known as 'the chequered sea'. Coming in to land at Malpensa airport, just outside Milan, you can see the vast expanse of it, and the towns and small cities, and the rice farms dotted about in the middle of it. On a sunny day, the view is quite something, and makes you realise how vast and important rice cultivation is in Italy - I think I'll do a risotto today!

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Old 06-30-2016, 03:06 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by di reston View Post
To make a risotto, you need 200g risotto rice
100g dry white wine...
That is indeed a definitive recipe, but what drove me up the wall for 30-odd years is that nobody could EXPLAIN what the point of all this wine-adding-and-stirring was. "It's how it's made" was about the best I got. Along the way I got purty good, and I'm not ashamed of the shaved fresh carrot risotto I make with wine and carrot juice.

But I also discovered the point of all that stupid adding-n-stirring: it's to get the soft arborio grains to release enough rice starch to get the signature creaminess.

So here's the question: has anybody tried utterly cheating by simply making this in a rice cooker, adding rice starch powder? I need to order some, and when I do, I'm going to try making a hands-off risotto with my favourite nutty brown basmati. Tradition! Tradition!...
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Old 06-30-2016, 03:29 PM   #8
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I make risotto with a pressure cooker - no stirring. The key is to toast the rice grains first in the pan with a little butter (and the mushrooms or onions, etc if using). Then add the liquid put on the lid and apply heat/pressure. Not sure how this would work with a long grain brown rice like basmati but it works well with short grain brown rice. Would be fun to try however...
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