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What's wrong with my risotto?

I just tried cooking risotto in a slow-cooker. I understand that method makes the texture a bit mushy, but that wasn't the problem. Problem: it had zero flavor. I've never cooked risotto before and so figured it was the recipe. I've gone through several recipes online, and the basics were the same. I'd assumed I'd find a lot of spices to make the difference, but there really weren't any. Any suggestions? This recently happened to me with an epicurious.com recipe for tequilia shrimp, which was as basic as it gets and which got near-universal raves. Only two people - now, including me, three - found it totally bland. I'm guessing I'm the common denominator here and wonder if anybody knows of any common mistakes made when making risotto (or, for that matter, tequilia shrimp?!)?
Many thanks.

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  1. The only thing I know for certain is that your slow cooker is not responsible for the lack of flavor. Without knowing what herbs, spices, liquids (and their relative quantities) you used it's difficult to offer a possibility for the outcome you describe.

    1. ... maybe its you? this is totally presumptuous but maybe if you're a smoker or are using a nasal allergy spray or something like that, it would alter your tasting experience... it just seems weird that the epicurious recipe was basic and universally loved....

      1. It's a good idea to taste the broth that you use, and while it shouldnt taste salty, it should have a good balanced flavour. I have used all kinds of things for broth, from home-made chicken, to organic bouillon cubes, to canned organic broth...and each one has a different flavour - sometimes i've had to add more salt to them, and other times, dilute them with more water. Let your own taste be your guide.

        But having said all of that, I have still had some risottos that were on the bland side...and the best way to correct this, is to add lots of fresh grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese to the final product. Works like a charm everytime!

        1 Reply
        1. re: msmarabini

          Was going to say the same,. when it is done stir in a whack of cheese, a pad of butter and some freshly minced parsley. Also don't listen to the recipe when it comes to salt and pepper amounts correct yourself.

          I have 't actually ever made it in the slow cooker but I do make risotto all the time.

        2. Take every opportunity to add flavor even when the recipe does not indicate to do so: for the risotto, brown it in bacon fat first, use a little bit of wine before you add the broth, squeeze some lemon into it before serving and grate some zest as well....

          1 Reply
          1. re: foodie4444

            I was going to say the same thing. Maybe add some thyme sprigs.

          2. I am gonna ask, since you never cooked it before, maybe it is you? depending on where you have eaten it before..it could be the way they season that makes it seem better?
            I am also going to say that if you have only eaten it commercially ; you might be so used to a heavily salted (or MSG'd) product, that without this it seems bland.

            yes, the slow cooker woudl not influence the taste, just texture. But next time..if you make a recipe and find it bland, experiment. Take some of it aside, to a porion add more salt let sit about 5 minutes (I think salt does need a bit of time to develop) and see if that portion tastes better. If not, but closer..add a bit more to a potion of that portion (so you can compare) try again. Try with some other spices, pepper, garlic etc. Hey you had a bland dish, so use it to experiment help you know your palate better!