Risotto is a dish of Italian cuisine, which is popular around the world along with pasta and pizza. There is a great many variations of cooking this dish, but the main role in it still plays rice. Far from any variety of rice is suitable for risotto. To enjoy the national dish of Italy, you need to choose cereal, which can create a unique creamy structure of risotto. So what kind of rice is needed for this?
How to choose rice for risotto
As has already become clear, rice, which is usually used for cooking, is not suitable for risotto. Fine-grain, round grain and short rice are considered suitable for risotto, which is able to absorb well the broth and aroma of spices. In addition, croup should contain 2 types of starchy substance - amylopectin and amylose. Due to the first starch, rice acquires a creamy texture, and thanks to the second starch it is boiled to the state of “al dente”, that is, the grain is ready, but remains firm in the center. Many varieties fall under such requirements, but basically only the three types of cereals listed below are used. It is necessary to tell about each grade in more detail.
- Arborio is considered the most affordable rice for risotto in Russia. It has a large amount of starchy substance, so it is very digested. In order not to spoil the dish and properly cook it, you can not be distracted. For the same reason, the arborio risotto must be eaten immediately after preparation and it must be prepared not for future use, but as much as it is possible to eat at one time. Otherwise, the croup will stick together and acquire a sticky, viscous consistency. It is recommended to cook classic risotto from arborio, that is, without complicated side dishes.
- Carnaroli is somewhat different from arborio. Its grains have a more elongated shape and smaller size. Also, there is not much starchy substance in it, and therefore, after cooking, it does not fall apart and does not become homogeneous porridge. At home, this variety of rice is the most popular. Most often, risotto with fish, game or vegetable side dishes is prepared from it.
- Vialone Nano is another type of rice used for risotto. In Russia, this variety of rice is extremely rare, but if you find it, you can cook a very gentle risotto. As part of the vialone nano contains a lot of starch, thanks to him, the risotto is obtained with an incredibly soft creamy texture. In addition, vialone nano has a wonderful taste and aroma, plus it is suitable for recipes of any complexity. It is therefore not surprising that most cooks in the world prefer this particular variety of rice.
When buying rice, always purchase a package that does not have cracked and crushed grains, or one where their quantity is minimal. If you have purchased cereals, on the package of which the inscription “for risotto” is displayed, most likely it contains arborio rice.
Secrets of delicious risotto
- Rice for it in no case can not be washed. Water will remove the top layer of starch, so the dish will not be able to acquire the necessary creamy texture.
- In the homeland, risottos are cooked in a large frying pan with a thick bottom and high sides. Due to the large surface of the dishes, water evaporates quickly, and thanks to the thick bottom, the dish is evenly boiled.
- In the course of cooking risotto must be stirred. This is best done with a spatula with a hole in the middle. Rice will leak through it, which will make mixing more efficient.
- It is customary to add alcohol to risotto in order to open the pores of rice grains and to give them an additional pleasant taste. It is preferable to use a good white dry wine. You can also enter sherry or vermouth.
- A significant role in the preparation of risotto is played by butter: it is best to use high-quality butter or mix it in the same proportions as olive.
- White or yellow onions should be added to the risotto, and you should add juicy onion pulp to the dish, so do not regret cutting the onions. As for cutting, the onions should be crushed into very small pieces.
- Broths can be used different: fish, vegetable, chicken and beef. Beef is considered a classic option, but many prefer chicken broth, as it does not overwhelm rice with its taste. If you are cooking a dish with seafood, it is better to use water.
- Chopped onions and garlic should be fried in a not-hot pan. These components of risotto should be roasted evenly. Transparency and delicate texture of onion-garlic mixture indicates its readiness. Burnt garlic and onions should never be added to the risotto.
- Before you start to add liquid to rice, you must first fry it in a mixture of garlic and onion, so that it absorbs their flavors. Only after that in a risotto begin to add broth in small portions. The broth must be hot. It is necessary to comply with the temperature regime. After the first addition of the liquid should wait for its boiling, that is, do not stir the cooking mixture. Thus, gluten from the grains is better released. Subsequent portions of water or broth must be added after soaking up the previous portion and constantly stir the rice.
- To add a creamy consistency to the risotto, it is important to add Parmesan or pecorino cheese, after rubbing it and whipping it with butter.
- Risotto is recommended to salt at the very end. Rice is cooked in salted broth, besides salty cheese is included in the composition of the dish, so it may not even be necessary to add some salt.
Now, knowing all the subtleties, you can safely begin cooking the Italian risotto dish, and then enjoy its unique flavor.