Thursday, December 01, 2005

Entering the world of risotto

Risotto for me was this gooey looking rice concotion that almost looked repulsive. Anytime I am in an Italian restaurant I have shied away from this concotion but recently I saw something on TV that made me want to attempt this dish. Just to know what all this hype about risotto was about. And so I tried and then I understood...It is more creamy than gooey and as the Italians say 'very comforting'. It doesnot feel that heavy either....

So, I went to the store and bought some arborio rice. They are different from the rice that we usually use in Indian cooking...more starchy and more globular I would say. This was the recipe that I followed, and I consulted this article too before I started. But I understand that there is no standard rule for what goes into a risotto. So your imagination is the limit. But risotto making is not for the impatient. There is a lot of slow stirring and waiting..but the results are worth it.
This is the method I followed:
To begin the process use a pan with enough space to do the stirring. At the same time warm up some chicken or veggie broth in a sauce pan and keep it in reach.
Heat a mixture of butter and olive oil. Saute some onions till golden.Add arborio rice right from the bag into the onions and stir till the rice is well coated with the oil and butter. The rice grains almost glisten with the coating.Then add the wine.

Now comes the part that tests your patience. Add the broth 'slowly', one ladle at a time to the rice. Make sure the pan is at the right temp. or the rice will stick. If it sticks to the bottom, turn down the heat. So keep adding the broth and stir so that the rice doesnt stick. So it is a continous process of adding broth and stirring. You dont have to stir all the time but after adding the broth u can take a very small break. After a while u will know how long to stir and when to take a break. After about 20 min the rice will be ready, taste it...and now is the time to add the peas..cheese and some butter right before serving. Spoon some broth just before u remove it from the fire and serve it immediately with some grated Parmigiano Reggiano.

I totally loved this dish for its simplicity and how delicate it was. But S said, maybe we could add some red pepper flakes next time...Alas, the 'Indian' in our palate always need that extra kick in whatever we eat..

The risotto was preceded by this wonderful hearty soup. The recipe can be found here