How to Make Authentic Italian Risotto
I am obsessed with risotto. The creamy texture, the satisfaction of achieving the perfect consistency, the adventure of experimenting with new flavours… it’s my absolute favourite thing to cook. I’m so picky, that I never order it at restaurants, because I’m always disappointed. Except, of course, in Italy.
Italian risotto is obviously the best, so when we included not one but two risotto recipes in our Journey through Italy range, I was overcome with excitement, eager to learn new combinations. I decided to take this opportunity to find out more about my favourite home cooked dish.
Where does risotto come from?
Turns out Italian risotto can be traced back as far as the 11th century, brought to Italy from the Far East. It’s a historic hit in northern regions of Italy such as Lombardy, Piedmont and Veneto, because of its cheap ingredients and the sheer variety of possible flavours.
What should a risotto look like?
Risotto textures can range from sticky solid portions to puddles of rice suspended in sauce. Authentic Italian risotto however, is creamy rather than runny, al dente (“to the teeth”, each grain of rice slightly firm to the bite) and all’onda (“with waves”, with a ripple effect across the surface when wobbled).
How do you make a real Italian risotto?
- Always use Italian rice such as Arborio, Vialone, Nano or Cararoli.
- Never wash the rice. The creamy texture comes from the natural starch.
- Prep all your ingredients first and set them around the hob before you start cooking.
- Saute the onion and garlic in butter or olive oil (or both) until soft but not brown.
- Add the rice and stir until well coated, before adding a splash of wine (if you’re using it) for the rice to absorb.
- Always use hot stock. Adding cold liquid will just draw out the cooking time.
- Don’t pour all the liquid in at once, add a ¼ cup at a time.
- Stir continuously over a low heat – I’m serious, don’t stop stirring.
- To figure out when you need to add more stock, drag your wooden spoon across the bottom of the pan. If you can create a space in the rice, it’s ready for more liquid.
- If you run out of liquid, switch to hot water rather than making more stock.
- Don’t let the rice overcook to a sludge – the grains should still be slightly firm.
- Remove from the heat and stir in more butter and plenty of Italian hard cheese.
As with most recipes, once you’ve mastered a basic risotto, you can start experimenting with flavours and ingredients. We’ve highlighted our favourite combinations in our new range, Journey through Italy. This week’s Amalfi risotto recipe combines grated courgette and lemon zest with juicy jumbo prawns, lashings of hard Italian cheese and a vibrant pop of leafy watercress.
Don’t miss out on this exciting new recipe! Add Amalfi Risotto with Jumbo Prawns to your Gousto box now on your weekly menu.