Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Tomato and Brussels Sprout Risotto

Risotto is more than a dish, it's a technique.

Traditionally risotto is made with Italian Arborio rice because of the ideal starch content and texture, however this cooking method can actually be applied to a number of other grains successfully. Some chefs prefer other varieties of rice, such as Vialone Nano or Carnoroli, so you should experiment with each to see which you prefer. The foundational ingredients usually include a fat such as olive oil or butter, a deglazing liquid such as wine or vermouth, a liquid base such as stock, onion, garlic, and parmesan cheese.

You need a thick bottom pan with a wide surface area for risotto. This minimizes hot spots and prevents burning since risotto is cooked over a relatively high heat. A thick stainless or copper pan or enamel coated cast iron pan will work well.

You can locate some great videos online for cooking risotto. I recommend the lesson as taught by Rouxbie Cooking School as it follows the classical risotto method. Once you understand the technique to make this creamy dish, it's easy to experiment with different variations and flavor profiles. Risotto is versatile and can be finished in an infinite number of ways to create dishes ranging from basic starters to much more substantial, elaborate meals. Don't let the name intimidate you, risotto is not complicated or overly time consuming to make. It just takes a little practice. If you've never tried risotto, it's unlike any other rice dish you've ever had.

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