Risotto is that gourmet comfort food, that has intimidated a lot of cooks, including me! The most common of the Italian rice varieties used for risotto is Arborio rice which is shorter and fatter than most other rice. It has a high starch content that yields a creamy texture when cooked. Thanks to Alfonso from Napoli for this easy authentic Italian style risotto which complements grilled meats or chicken. It also makes a filling vegetarian meal on it’s own served with a green salad.
- 500gr sliced mushrooms
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tsp chilli powder (optional)
- 4 cups hot stock ( chicken or vegetable)
- 1 cup arborio rice
- 2Tbsp butter
- Parmesan cheese grated
- salt to taste
- • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh chives
- In a large, heavy based saucepan heat the oil and add the onion garlic and chilli powder.
- Fry over a gentle heat for 2-3 minutes, until softened. Add the mushrooms and fry for a further 2-3 minutes.
- Stir in arborio rice and coat in the oil, about 1 minute.
- Keep the stock on a low simmer.
- Stir ¼ cup simmering stock into rice and cook on medium heat, stirring often, until absorbed.
- Continue cooking and adding stock, about 1 ladle at a time. Stir frequently and let each addition be absorbed before adding next. Cook in this way until rice is tender and creamy, but still al dente, about 18 to 20 minutes.
- Season to taste with salt if needed. (Remember that the stock also contains salt)
- Add the butter, parmesan cheese and chopped chives.
- Serve immediately.
Risotto should be cooked over medium heat, so that the rice is cooked through.
If you cook over a high heat, the rice will be cooked on the outside, but still hard on the inside.
It is so important to add the stock gradually, one ladle at a time, and let each addition be absorbed before adding next. If you add all the liquid at once, you will get just plain cooked rice instead of a creamy risotto.
Don't be tempted to leave out the butter as it makes your risotto deliciously creamy.