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Are you making a specialty food?


KMERC May 3, 2007 08:14 AM

Just trying to improve my technique - When adding the rice, Marcella just says stir around a few times to mix in the flavors for a couple of minutes, but I have run across several recipes here in Italy that say to toast the rice for longer (7-10 minutes). until it is almost translucent. Any ideas? I sometimes have chalkiness issues...

  1. QueenB May 3, 2007 08:19 AM

    I think I usually toast my rice with the butter/oil and shallots for 3-5 minutes. The explanation I've always heard is to toast until they sound like "glass beads" on the pan, then to add liquid.

    1. b
      brendastarlet May 3, 2007 08:20 AM

      I say toast for about five minutes. Make sure it's nicely coated and stir constantly.

      1. a
        Amanita May 3, 2007 08:22 AM

        The one risotto recipe I used to make also called for a splash of white wine at the beginning, and constant stirring while adding chicken broth.

        1. j
          jdream May 3, 2007 08:22 AM

          Lydia Bastianich's recipe for a basic risotto walks you through it all so perfectly. I would try going from there, perhaps a different technique would do the trick. Just a thought...

          1 Reply
          1. re: jdream
            laylag May 7, 2007 06:08 AM

            I use Lidia's recipe too and it's perfect.

          2. jfood May 3, 2007 08:34 AM

            I normally "toast" my rice for about three minutes. I also add the garlic at this point as i do not want the garlic to burn and it seems to get the correct doneness with this method. Then the white wine and reduce til dry and then the stock adders begin.

            1. jdm May 3, 2007 08:50 AM

              Just to throw a LARGE wrench into the discussion, I have abandoned the stirring and stirring in favor of making risotto in my pressure cooker! Perfect creamy risotto in under ten minutes with a minimum of stirring. I do saute the rice in the butter and oil until it turns chalky white, and then I add white wine and allow that to evaporate before adding the stock, closing the lid and forgetting about the whole thing for five minutes.

              1 Reply
              1. re: jdm
                lula May 7, 2007 11:40 AM

                I was wondering if you could tell me what proporations of rice to stock you use for this method? When I make risotto on the stove I always just make up a bunch of stock as use as needed so never really know how much I've used.

              2. daily_unadventures May 3, 2007 12:57 PM

                I also always toast the rice, but for a couple of minutes - say 2-3, I also generally use a splash of white wine - but if I don't have it thats fine too. I learned to make it from my Mum but I have followed Marcella's recipe to the letter and that worked well too but was fussier then just going for it as I always have.


                1. g
                  Grubbjunkie May 3, 2007 01:28 PM

                  It's difficult to use a hard rule for the amount of time for it due to variations in heat, the amount of rice, fat, etc. I'd say 4-5 minutes is about right, but what I look for is a slight transluscence around the edges of each kernal and a slight sizzle/pop. From there, I add a little wine and reduce 'til it's gone, then start adding stock. Also, instead of constant stirring, for years I've done what Mark Bittman recently endorsed in the New York Times: Stir when you first add each portion of stock, then feel free to let it simmer on its own for a bit while you prepare something else, open more wine, etc. It's important to keep an eye on it and adjust the temp if needed, but you don't need to stand there stirring the whole time.

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: Grubbjunkie
                    KMERC May 4, 2007 04:30 AM

                    Toasting the rice for longer than I usually do worked out well for me, so its something I'll remember. Did have some trouble with wild asparagus which despite blanching, triming and sauteing, left me with woody pieces in my risotta. Lesson learned.
                    Thanks for all the tips

                    1. re: KMERC
                      jfood May 4, 2007 03:58 PM

                      for the asparagus, trick is to buy fatter than normal, then use a potato peeler (jfood owns an asparagus peeler) to remove the tough outer skin. Cut into bite size pieces and blanch for a few minutes. Add to the risotto when there is 5 minutes remaining.

                      1. re: jfood
                        KMERC May 7, 2007 05:46 AM

                        I used wild asparagus, so there are no fat ones, in fact they are almost woody. You couldn't really peel them. A friend of mine here in rome said with the wild kind its better to simmer them for a reallllly long time, use the broth for the risotto, and use pretty much only the very tips, since the stalks never really soften up. next time..

                        1. re: KMERC
                          jfood May 7, 2007 05:53 AM


                          That's a good idea, the broth from the asparagus for the risotto. Jfood like that a lot, will give that a go this week. Thx.

                    2. re: Grubbjunkie
                      weezycom May 7, 2007 11:37 AM

                      Thank you for that tip! I've just begun making risottos recently and have worn up blisters on my stirring hand every time.

                      1. re: weezycom
                        italyinmind May 7, 2007 01:15 PM

                        I agree that the constant stirring isn't entirely necessary. I usually cook the rise in a bit of oil for a couple minutes, until I begin to see some translucency. Then I drop in some garlic and let it go another couple of minutes until the garlic is tender. At that point I add some white wine and let it cook down. During all of this I stir regulary. However once the wine is absorbed/evaporated I start adding broth, and only stir when I add each portion of the broth.

                        1. re: weezycom
                          jfood May 7, 2007 01:20 PM

                          Jfood does pretty much like italyinmind. once the rice is added jfood stirs for a couple of minutes and add the garlic at this point, then add the wine. Then let the wine evaporate and then add the first batch of hot broth, stirring pretty vigorously during this first broth for 2-3 minutes to release the starch from the rice. Once the subsequent batches of broth are added jfood stirs to mix and let it absorb. Then for the last 3 minutes jfood picks up the stirring the get the consistency desired.

                      2. j
                        jenjunum May 4, 2007 03:46 PM

                        I toast my rice for about 3-5 minutes. I shoot for the edges to be translucent but the middle of the kernel is still white. Then I add about a cup of white wine, reduce that away, then start adding stock.

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