"Risotto is time-consuming." "Risotto is tedious." These are a just a couple of the reigning complaints that keep many from attempting to cook this fantastic, fragrant dish. Admittedly, cooking risotto does require a bit of attention, but its rich flavors and creamy texture is well worth the 20 minutes of care it takes to make it! There are only a few tricks you need to make a rich, decadent risotto fit for any special occasion, and here they are:

Materials Needed

A wooden spoon, a ladle, and two heavy pots.

The Basic Ingredients

The varieties of rice good for risotto are arborio, carnaroli, and nano; you cannot substitute these for any other kind of rice. Risotto rice is ideal for absorbing flavors because when cooked, the exterior starch of each grain dissolves into the broth and the interior absorbs the liquid and swells - other rices don't cook this way, and tend to become sticky or gluey instead.

Arborio

rice is the most inexpensive and commonly found risotto rice, but it is also easiest to overcook.

Carnaroli

rice is great at absorbing flavors and has just enough starchiness to make the risotto creamy but not gooey. It's a dependable variety, even for beginners.

Nano

rice is the best grain to use in a hurry. It's a short grain that absorbs flavors well, though the texture is different and usually results in a wetter risotto.

The most important ingredient aside from the rice, is the stock. You must use a good, high quality stock, as this will be the main source of the risotto's flavor. A good, fragrant stock will result in a richer, tastier risotto.

Cooking Tips

Follow the directions of a Yummly recipe for the particular kind of risotto you would like to make. These general tips will help you make great risotto regardless of the recipe:

  • Use heavy copper-bottom or stainless steel pots, as these distribute heat more evenly.
  • Keep your stock simmering throughout the cooking process. Cold stock lowers the temperature of the rice, making your risotto gluey.
  • Prior to stirring the stock into the rice, gently fry the rice until it's glassy. This opens up the grains and softens the outer layer of starch.
  • Add the stock in small installments, stirring the rice until it's absorbed. Stirring releases the starch from the rice making the risotto creamy.

Here are a few recipes to try:

Chili Shrimp and Coconut Risotto

Gourmet Mushroom Risotto

Bacon Risotto

Butternut Squash Risotto

Asparagus Risotto

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  Photo Credits: Sunset, BBC Good Food, ECAB Online, Serious Eats, Me Cooking Creations, Stephen Cooks, Simply Recipes

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