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Jul 5, 2005 09:36 PM

Risotto -- how can a restaurant serve this in 10 mins?

  • k

Just had the marvelous escargot risotto as an app at Town in NYC. So rich, creamy and amazing. Took my breath away. It arrived in about 20 mins. Have had it in other places, mid to mid-high end, here in NYC and elsewhere where it arrived in 10 mins!! Are they partially cooking and holding the risotto? Or is it continually made every 30 mins or so and wasted if not ordered?

At La Risotteria in the village, it arrives in 10 mins! Numerous pots always full of fresh-looking risotto behind the counter (perhaps one with a seafood base, one with a chicken base, one with a vegetable base, etc), and seems they add the final ingredients once an order is placed.

Question is this: can risotto actually be partially cooked, held for some time, and finished later with the same or 99% of the same resulting quality, as when prepared start to finish and served immediately?

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  1. I recently asked the chef of on of our top end italian restaurants this very question; his reponse was that during the day he prepares the risotto and starts to cook it until it is mid way through its cooking time and the rice is still crunchy. He then spreads it on a baking tray and puts that in the fridge. When an order comes in, he can spoon off portions into pots and finish them off with stock and additions as required.

    I haven't tried this myself, but obviously it works for him.

    He also added that risotto should be served on the crunchy side of al dente which I thought was interesting, I really like mine creamy with just the slightest hint of a bite.

    2 Replies
    1. re: naomi

      That's the method, from what I've heard - that most places use for risotto. Spreading it out on the sheet allows for quick cooling and arrests the cooking process until it's needed later.

      1. re: naomi

        I've used this method (first found it in the Inn at Little Washington cookbook). It works like a charm.

      2. Yes, as others have said, it can be done. But to the question to quality: no, it does not result in the same or even 99% of the same quality. I only order it now at places that make each order from scratch.


        1. For more commentary, here's a previous thread.


          1. the cooling in the pan method does work and pretty well at that. never quite as perfect as made this minute but i think you'll be pleased.

            just wanted to add that for the record - all of the risottos at la risotteria are made with a chicken stock. i asked this question of them when they had forst opened and the manager told me that even the seafood risottos have some chicken stock in the base. i guess keeping it all one thing helps keep production going at a fast rate.