Risotto is probably one of the more difficult dishes to get right. It’s not impossible, but a few things have to happen for a cook to get it to the correct consistency. Gordon Ramsay would say it should relax on the plate. The texture of risotto is similar to rice in that it should be soft, but also silky smooth, and not clump up. The best way to achieve this is to a) serve it as soon as its ready and not let it sit and b) take your time with it. This is not a quick dish; it will take at least 45 minutes from start to finish which means time management is very important.
I’m sure you’re thinking to yourself, why would you even attempt it with the previous warning. Well, when made right it’s a delicate, delicious side dish! One that you should attempt. Take your time, follow these instructions, and you’ll be ok. If your first attempt isn’t perfect, have patience and try it again.
A little history for you. Risotto is typically made from Arborio rice, which is a large grain superfino rice. What makes Arborio, and other Italian rice, unique is the ability to absorb liquids without overcooking. Arborio is not the only superfino rice though, there is also Vialone Nano, Carnaroli, and Baldo. Each type can used for different flavour combinations. For example, Carnaroli might be used when a cook is trying to use bold flavors. In my experience, here in Canada, Arborio is the most widely available.
One of the first steps in preparing risotto is washing your rice. The reason you rinse it is to get the starches off. You do not want starch in this meal, so we rinse our rice until the water comes clear. It might take about a minute or so. Another step to watch for is how quickly it is absorbing your liquid. You don’t want to add more liquid until the rice has absorbed the current addition. And lastly, toasting your rice. Before you add any liquid to it you want to make sure it is coated with the fat you’ve used; in today’s recipe that is going to be butter, but it could be grapeseed oil, bacon grease, olive oil, or coconut oil. It depends on what, if any, flavors you want to add. The fat you use can impart a specific flavour that you might find attractive.
When toasting the rice, ensure all the grains look like they are covered, don’t inspect them one by one, but there might be a slight nutty smell to the rice. You’re also not trying to brown the rice; you just want to warm it up and get it coated. Once its coated and warmed up, then you start adding liquids. About a small ladle amount at a time until you see the rice has soaked up all the liquid, then add the next ladle. Stir it so it doesn’t start to stick together, because you also don’t want a big clump. You don’t have to be rough, just a gentle stir. When all the liquid is absorbed, taste it and add more salt if you think it needs it. Serve it immediately and buon appetito!
15g – Butter
15ml – Canola Oil
15g – Onion OR shallot, finely diced
1 clove of garlic – minced finely
225g – Arborio Rice
100ml – Tequila, you can substitute a dry White Wine such as a Pinot Gris or a Sauvignon Blanc
600ml – Chicken Broth
45g – Parmesan cheese grated fine
Kosher Salt to taste or about 1 tsp
- Finely dice your onion, make sure they are very small and thin.
- Warm up a non-stick pan over medium high heat.
- Pour the Stock into a pot and bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat to a light simmer (low heat).
- Add the butter and oil to the frying pan.
- Once the butter has melted add the onion and garlic. Stir until they are starting to look translucent about 3 minutes
- Add the rinsed rice and stir until all the rice is coated in the butter and oil about 2- 3 minutes
- Add the tequila and allow the rice to absorb it, while you stir.
- Once the tequila is absorbed add ¼ cup of chicken broth and stir until it is absorbed.
- Keep adding broth until it is all added, and the risotto is slowly spreading outward.
- Add the parmesan cheese and stir it in.
- Taste for flavour and add salt until you just taste it.
- Serve it up and Enjoy!