I seem to have been making paella a lot recently, so for a change I decided to make a risotto. As with paella, having the right kind of rice is critical to get that creamy risotto texture. I have used arborio, though this time I used carnaroli.
In a large frying pan, I put some olive oil and some butter, to which I added the zest of a lemon and some chopped garlic. I then added onion, red pepper and leeks.
These were cooked off in the pan until they were soft. I then added the carnaroli rice, this I coated in the oil, butter, onions and leeks. You can tell how far to go before adding the stock, the rice should be at what is called the “popping stage”. Now if you have some white wine, this would be an ideal time to add some, otherwise add some stock.
Don’t add all the stock, the key to success with a risotto, is adding stock a little at a time and lots of stirring.
After twenty minutes and just before serving, first check the rice is cooked, I then added the juice of a lemon and some parmesan cheese. You could add some rocket if you wanted, this adds flavour and colour. Freshly chopped parsley would be another nice idea.
I have been making risotto much more often now, as you might expect, the more you cook it, the easier it is and also becomes less daunting. What I like about risotto is how easy it is to add different flavours and make something different each time. The key of course is to use the right kind of rice; I have started to experiment with different kinds of risotto rice. As well as the usual suspect, arborio, I have also been using carnaroli. The end results are very similar, the creamy consistency is what makes a risotto a risotto.
The process I use is as follows.
In a large frying pan, place some olive oil. Then add some finely chopped onion.
Soften the onions.
Bring up the heat.
Add the risotto rice and ensure that the rice is coated in the oil
and mixed in with the onion.
Now add some stock. I either use chicken stock or vegetable stock. If it’s in the fridge I also occassionally use some white wine.
Keep topping up with stock to ensure that the rice doesn’t dry out.
Stir on a regular basis. This will help create a creamy texture.
Once the rice is virtually cooked, add a large handful of grated parmesan and some freshly ground black pepper.
For flavours I will either add the ingredients in with the onions, or cook them separately. With some ingredients such as mushrooms I may do both!