Add vegetables, such as colorful beets, to your favorite recipes for a complete weeknight meal.
By Tania Cusak
There seems to be a little mystery about Risotto. There shouldn’t be. The only mystery regarding risotto is the rice you use.
If you have had a terrible experience making risotto you may have to start again with some more suitable rice. Did your last risotto resemble a pot of glue? Then you probably bought your rice in the supermarket and it was probably called “Arborio”. I would recommend buying Carnaroli or Vialone Nano rice to make wonderful risotto; this rice is in the “Arborio” family but couldn’t be further away from the rice you bought in the supermarket. For a start it is a protected product of Italy and therefore only grown in Italy. You won’t find this rice in the supermarket, you will only find it in specialty stores and deli’s.
Carnaroli and Vialone Nano rice are grown in the North of Italy where the rainfall and soil are most suitable for rice. Both Carnaroli and Vialone Nano are rounded short rice grains that can soak up almost double their weight in liquid and still stay firm and whole. Carnaroli is the most well known and the preferred grain It’s slightly larger and stays firmer in the centre than Vialone Nano which is often used in Liguria to make beautiful soupy fish based risottos.
There are of course a number of ways to make Risotto, just like most things that come from Italy, every one has their own way of making it. I am known to add various vegetables, on the odd occasion, that don’t go into risotto, so that it can become a hidden treasure trove of goodness without any of the vege-phobic residents at our house knowing they are eating good bits.
So, don’t feel you have to follow any hard and fast rules other than to buy the best Carnaroli or Vialone Nano rice you can find. And start by following the basic principles of making Risotto.
Heat a wide deep pot adding oil and butter and always toast the rice.
Always use hot stock
Add stock bit by bit until the grains are soft and creamy on the outside but have a tiny core of firmness left in the middle.
Add grated parmesan and butter in the amounts you prefer
Always cover and let sit for five minutes before serving.Print
After completing Culinary School in Sydney, Tania travelled the world working as a Chef in restaurants, doing catering and cooking on road for a travel company in Europe and the US. Once back at home, the birth of her son meant a change, and during his small years, she enjoyed jobs in wholesale food, buying Artisan food products, testing and recipe writing as sales and educational tools. Tania is now back to what she loves, working as an in house Chef for a large retailer, conducting Cooking Classes and writing recipes for her blog.