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Risotto without stock

OK, I may be pilloried for admitting this, but I don't always have homemade stock in my freezer, and when I don't, I use canned stock!!

Tonight I made Mark Bittman's Risotto without stock:


It turned out really well, the dried porcini and onions kind of makes a stock before you begin adding the water. I did use white wine, added baby spinach when it was almost done, and used a really good parmesan.

Anyone else tried this?


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  1. I've used canned stock quite often. I just don't have room always. Making room for ice cubes in my tiny fridge is hard enough.

    I have also used the water from the mushrooms that I rehydrated and wine and just plain water and it honestly turned out just fine.

    I don't follow too many recipes so I just wing it but it was pretty darn good. Mine had 2 mushrooms, garlic, shallots and romano and some scallions with some fresh herbs. I was very pleased.

    1. I worked in Italy about ten years ago and brought home maybe twenty packs of Knorr instant risotto and shamelessly served it to dinner guests (as my own) for the next year. I had to add only: water, fresh chopped parsley and parmigiano reggiano. Outstanding products: Porcini Mushroom, and White Truffle.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Chinon00

        I will look for this product now. Thanks.

        1. re: Chinon00

          this product is only sold in Italy?

          1. re: Lewes17266

            Yes. And the best part was the price: 1 euro for a two serving packet. I've tried to obtain it online but had no luck.

        2. I wish I had read this before I made risotto tonight. I have some dried porcini in the pantry too! Now I know what I want to make tomorrow night - Thanks for the link Michaela :)

          1. IMO chicken stock is way over used. A little thinking about the end product almost always leads me to something more appropriate.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Richard 16

              I've always assumed it added a layer of flavor in many dishes. When I read Michael Ruhlman's blog rant (saying everything tastes better if you use water instead of canned stock or broth) I started questioning whether to use it or not. This Bittman piece pushed me over the edge about risotto.

              1. re: mr99203

                i typically use water (that I blanch the asparagus in) for my asparagus risotto.

              1. re: ipsedixit

                Thanks for pointing me to your previous thread, I had searched for "without stock" but not "with water"! I didn't even think about the textural difference, but it absolutely makes sense.

              2. Contrary to what most people think, in most people's homes in Italy and Spain, it's rare that they use stock for their risottos and paellas. It is much more common to use water and perhaps a little boullion. Yeah, in fine eating establishments they do, but in general people use what they have handy. Don't feel bad or let the chowhound foodie bullies mock you...

                  1. re: purple goddess

                    totally with you there - Vegeta rocks!! Especially when I need to cook for my meat-loving in laws, but adapt a small part of the dish for my vego sister-in-law.

                  2. I just sat in on a seminar on umami with Chef Tokuoka of Arashiyama Kitcho in Kyoto and he made us a delicious risotto using dashi. He topped it simply with katsuobushi flakes, some konbu and nanohana greens.

                    1. But don't be ashamed of resorting to what is resorted to in many Italian kitchens: a combo of chicken and beef bouillon (one without the other is unbalanced in flavor) diluted in water to *half* strength (either use half the amount or double the water, that is). It won't have the same mouthfeel as stock (or, even more traditionally, marrow....) but it's actually quite reliable. My risotto is one of my most demanded dishes when I travel, and I just travel with the bouillon cubes in my risotto traveling kit (non-stick Joyce Chen wok, 4 cup measuring cup, wooden spoon, carnaroli rice, and my spreadsheet of ingredient amounts for different numbers of servings, et cet.)

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: Karl S

                        A risotto spreadsheet? Impressive (and if you care to share my email is on my profile) :)

                        1. re: Karl S

                          I'm LMAO--risotto spreadsheet!!! Actually, Swanson's Reduced sodium canned broths are OK--I do agree with Karl in mixing beef and chicken broths--I do this all the time when beef broth is used. Also, I usually saute my onion and rice in marrow when making the Risotto Milanese...

                          1. re: hankstramm

                            Of course, my traveling kit could be consider medical equipment...

                          2. re: Karl S

                            I made a black trumpet mushroom risotto the other night and it was almost TOO rich. I used half vegetable and half chicken stock (boxed). I wonder if water would have been a better choice. Or, as you say dilute it quite a bit.

                            1. re: c oliver

                              Oh, don't ever use boxed vegetable broth. Almost all the brands are vile, and none are good. It's much easier to commoditize a decent (if not great) flesh/bone-based broth than a vegetable broth.

                              1. re: Karl S

                                Oh, fine, how you tell me :) As usual, thanks for the heads up. And I never considered just water.

                          3. I use (to paraphrase Jacqes Pepin) Chateau Sink. Water is fine if you add other flavorings like porcini, cheese, aromatic herbs and vegetables.

                            1. I was wondering this recently: would risotto be any good if you tried making it with a soup/bisque-ish soup? I was thinking, instead of broth or stock, can you use say, a creamy tomato soup? beginning cook here.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: janethepain

                                a creamy soup is going to be too thick for the rice to absorb the liquid properly. That's why you want to work with water, broth or stock. Ingredients to make the risotto creamier (more than the rice starch will on its own) such as grated cheeses or an extra dollop of butter or cream, would be added near the end of the cooking process.