When thinking of a very Italian dish, this is what instantly comes to mind. Risotto. Riso means “rice” which is the most important ingredient of this dish. It is usually served as an appetizer or before the main course of the meal.
Did you know?
In the 14th century, Italy started cultivating rice. According to legend, the first Risotto recipe dates back to 1809 when a young glassblower’s apprentice of the Fabbrica del Duomo di Milano from Flanders used saffron as a pigment and added it to a rice dish at a wedding feast. It included rice sautéed in butter, sausages, bone marrow, onions and hot broth with saffron gradually added.
Before anything else, here’s a recipe worth the effort in making a Risotto.
Chicken and Mushroom Risotto
160g Carnaroli Rice
60g Chicken Breast
20g White Wine
700g Vegetable Broth
Salt and pepper to taste
• Sanitize the work surface
• Place all the necessary ingredients and materials on the table
• Weigh the ingredients carefully and prepare them weighed in the bowls
How to Cook:
Let’s start preparing the chicken:
- Cut the chicken breast into bite-size strips.
- Heat a frying pan and add a little oil.
- Put salt and pepper on the chicken. Cook for about 20 minutes until golden brown and a nice crust has formed.
For the Risotto:
- Clean the mushrooms from the earth. Wash lightly and then dry. Cook for about 10 minutes in a sauté pan with a little oil, add a pinch of salt and pepper.
- Heat the vegetable broth in a stock pot.
- In a sauce pan, heat the rice grains without anything until you feel it is hot with your hand.
4. Add the white wine and let it evaporate.
5. Gradually add the broth until it just covers the rice. Add the mushrooms and continue adding the broth as often as needed until a few minutes before cooking.
6. Turn off the heat, add the butter and a little broth. Cover for 2 minutes with a cloth to let the rice rest.
7. Once passed, mix vigorously for about 1 minute until a cream is formed.
8. Add the chicken on top and serve!
This recipe can be enjoyed by two people. However, I doubt that you’ll be able to share this irresistible dish.
Maybe you’re asking, what if I do not have the Carnaroli rice? Don’t worry, I got you!
Different rice varieties started to be used for Risotto in the 20th century. The first one to be used is Maratelli rice in 1914.
In making a successful Risotto, you will need a high-starch (amylopectin), low-amylose, round, medium- or short- grain white rice. It is important to use these types of rice as they have the best ability to absorb liquids and release starch to make the risotto stickier rather than the lower amount of starch found in the long-grain ones.
There are also classifications for each type of grain. The highest Italian Risotto rice grade is superfino, followed by fino, semi-fino, and commune. The three on the top tier or the superfino rice are Arborio, Carnaroli, and Vialone Nano.
Here are the different types of rice typically used for a Risotto:
- Carnaroli- It is called the “king” or “caviar” of Risotto. It is the most popular and most expensive type. Chefs love to use this as it produces the creamiest Risotto and each grain maintains its shape. It is also the most resistant to overcooking.
- Arborio- It is the most widely available type of rice for Risotto. It has a wider and longer shape than a Carnaroli. It has a little less starch than the previous rice grain. If you are not careful, the Risotto can turn mushy but with care, love and attention while cooking, it will turn into a creamy and hearty rice dish.
- Vialone Nano- It has a thicker and shorter grain than the two types of grain but it still has a good amount of starch to make your Risotto creamy. It is the number one choice of rice in the Veneto region of Northern Italy. It cooks up quickly but it also can absorb liquid twice its weight. So, if you are trigger happy with pouring the broth, this is definitely for you.
- Maratelli- It is a semifino type of rice. As mentioned earlier, it is the first rice used for a Risotto and it is native to the Asigliano Vercellese province of Vercelli in Northern Italy. This rice keeps its shape better than some of the other grains.
- Baldo- Usually grown in the Piedmonte region of Italy. This is one of the underdogs of Ristto rice but still produces creamy Risottos nonetheless. Quickest to cook so you will just need to give a little more TLC, and fast!
Whichever type of rice you decide to go with when preparing your Risotto, I am confident that when you follow the recipe above, it will be a success. Just remember to avoid long-grain rice because again, they do not have the amount of starch needed to make beautiful Risotto dish.
Do not be afraid to experiment and put different kinds of protein like shrimp, fish, clams, mussels, and other types of meats to make it more extra. Add in your preferred herbs and spices as well if you are confident enough that it will make your dish better.
If you have tried making the loveliest Risotto of your life, share it with us! We want to know about it! Hit us up in the comments below! That’s all for now. Remember, A tavola non si invecchia!