Risotto is a young dish, the first written mention of it is found only in the XIX century. Often, risotto is called Italian pilaf. But with rice it is related only by the presence of rice. The rest of the ingredients, the cooking technique, the consistency are seriously different. By the number of fillers risotto is rapidly approaching the variety of pizza. In the course goes everything: mussels and shrimp, cheese and salami, asparagus and tomatoes, salmon and champignons. However, the most important thing in the risotto is rice.
The name itself comes from the Italian name of rice “il riso, risotto” – a diminutive caress of riso. At one time, rice saved the lives of Italians. After the epidemic of plague in the 13th century, there was a catastrophic lack of food and labor. Instead of laborious cultivation of wheat, the weakened Italians sowed rice in the fields of Sicily and Valencia. He did not require much care and brought a good harvest.
To learn the secret of this risotto, Italian cooks recommend remembering the spell: “Arborio, vialon nano, carnaroli!”.
But you do not need to pronounce it over the panting heat of the pots, but above the shelf in the grocery store. These are the varieties of rice, the seeds of which, as a result of preparation, acquire a delicate taste and a special velvety cream structure. If you decide to buy another kind of rice, remember that the shorter and whiter the grain, the more it absorbs liquids, swells and becomes sticky. Long grain rice is not so swollen, increases only in length, absorb a moderate amount of water and do not stick together. In Italy, most often served unrestricted risotto – in consistency it resembles a thick soup, from which almost all of the liquid boiled. It does not sound the best, but believe me: the dish is very tender and pleasant to the taste. However, if you prefer rice in a crumbly form, then you can prepare a “dry” risotto.
Risotto is a creative dish, it does not recognize strict rules and is prepared during a spiritual uplift, with imagination and love for food. It is said that Alexander Dumas, whose creativity is beyond doubt, after the success of the “Count of Monte Cristo” built a chic castle and regularly invited a huge number of guests. When the treat came to an end, Dumas went to the storeroom, found rice, tomatoes and ham and cooked a risotto for the whole crowd. Let’s follow his example.
Golden rules of risotto
1. Everything is at hand
The most important thing in cooking risotto is not to go anywhere and stir constantly. Otherwise, your Italian dish will turn into a mess-mash or just burn. Therefore, all the products that you plan to use, cook in advance. Including broth.
2. Broth concentrated and hot
An important component of the risotto is the broth. Depending on other ingredients, you can use beef, chicken, fish or vegetable broth. Italians love beef, but for risotto from seafood it does not fit – use plain water. In order for the rice to absorb the aroma of the broth, the latter should be concentrated and hot – forget about the bouillon cubes, lay more meat and remember the vegetables (carrots, onions and celery). When the meat becomes very soft, cool and strain the broth. When the cooking process begins, bring the broth to a boil and keep nearby.
The main difference between risotto and other dishes from rice is the preliminary frying of rice in oil. Wet washed rice will, of course, be cleaner, but it will not be fried. By the way, in the original recipe rice was fried in butter – not because of the bright creamy taste, but because of the fact that in the north of Italy, where this dish came from, olive groves have never existed. However, now actively used and olive oil.
For a basic risotto, you will need:
10 glasses of broth
2 cups of rice
120 g of butter + 2 tbsp. at the end of cooking
1 glass of dry white wine
½ cup grated Parmesan
In a saucepan with a thick bottom, melt the butter. The thicker bottom is needed for the rice to be evenly fried. Do not wait for it to turn brown! As soon as the oil has melted, put a diced onion into a frying pan, lightly fry, not allowing to brown. Add a pinch of salt.
Armed with a shovel and patience – you can not leave the stove anymore.
Put in the rice and immediately begin to stir it slowly. Such frying allows the rice to absorb the liquid better and to free itself from the starch (this is necessary for a creamy structure). After 1-2 minutes, pour a glass of wine at room temperature, continue stirring until the wine evaporates. Additional products are placed either now or when the risotto is completely ready.
Immediately after evaporation of wine pour in rice 1 tbsp. broth. After it absorbs, pour in the next. So gradually you will pour the whole broth. Do not forget to stir! Depending on the type of rice, it will be prepared for 15-20 minutes. Try the rice. If it is still damp, add a little boiling water. Italians like to make rice in risotto al dente – soft outside and a little hard inside. If you do not like it, cook as you used to – until you feel completely soft. Add 2 tablespoons ready-made risotto. butter and grated Parmesan. In this basic recipe, you can add all kinds of fillers and additives. It all depends on your desires and fantasy.
2 minutes before the end of cooking, add 250 g squid, shrimp, crab. Remove from heat, allow to stand under the lid. In this case, parmesan is not necessary to add.
400 g of champignons pre-stew and add to the risotto at the very end.
Risotto with bacon and cream
150 grams of bacon cut into cubes, dip into the oil heated in a pan, add the onion and cook according to the main recipe. After the broth is absorbed, add 50 ml of cream of 20% fat. Remove from heat, add the grated Parmesan, parsley and allow 2-3 minutes to sink.
In a separate frying pan, heat the olive oil and fry 200 grams of zucchini slices, 200 g of string beans and 200 g of green peas on high heat.
As for the ready risotto, finding it was not so easy. Not all institutions of Mediterranean cuisine and Italian cuisine in particular can please guests with this dish. However, in the cafe “Capriccio” it is. There you will find a large selection of risotto – with seafood, ham, vegetables and mushrooms at a price of 200 to 450 rubles. There is a risotto in the restaurant “Colosseum”, but there is no choice: there is only one kind of risotto – with seafood – for 300 rubles.