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Looking For Best Risotto In Italy [split from Home Cooking]

Joe - You've been quite famous I see! I'm a big of the risotto as well.. I haven't tried your recipe, as I'm not a fan of the gorgonzola... I know, shame on me! =) However... in reading this awesome thread.. I saw you have traveled quite a bit. This may be for a different board... BUT I'm in search of the best risotto in Italy.. preferrably in Rome, Bologna, Parm, or Venice... as those are the cities we're visiting. We're going for our honeymoon and fancy ourselves to be 'foodies'.

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  1. Fail to see the mystery associated with this recipe. Looks to be a great flavor combination. The magic is the the 2.5 - pounds of high quality cheese and butter.

    I love rich recipes, and this one looks great. I am just surprised at the 'g-whiz' reactions found here....

    1. The original comment has been removed
      1. I'm not Joe. but I'm posting to say I'm not sure you will find great risotto in Rome, Bologna, Parma or Venice. I live in Italy, and I would look for it in Lombardia, perhaps Piemonte, and around Mantova. If you want a major city, I would focus on Milano.

        It came as a surprise to me when I moved to Italy that Italians don't use Arborio rice to make risotto. Apparently it is easier to distribute Arborio rice in America, so food writers specify it. Italians use Carnaroli rice (from Piemonte and Lombardia), and it makes a HUGE difference in creaminess. Val di Nerone rice is more common in Mantova, but I have had less satisfactory results with it.

        Fred Plotkin cited several legendary establishements for risotto in his "Italy for the Gourmet Traveler." They were mainly in Lombardia. The book may need updating, but I would at least consult it.

        1 Reply
        1. re: summerUWS2008

          I should correct my too-hasty typing in the above post: It is vialone nano rice, not val di Nerone as I incorrectly posted.

        2. Still waiting for Joe to chime in.
          You will find good risotto in Venice. Venetians prefer the vialone nano for their risotto and their version tend to be 'soupier' than those from other parts of Italy. Cooking risotto takes time and attention, therefore, most places either fore go it or turn out sloppy versions. Naming the "best" is always difficult. For me, it has to be at Le Calandre in the nearby city of Padua. I've had three versions: one with saffron and licorice, another with truffle and the most recent with baby kidney and curry powder. The rice is firm, delicate and not at all heavy (probably the worst attribute of a poor risotto and the main reason I don't order it often in restaurants). One of the best I've had is the crab and artichoke at Da Fiore but that was many years ago. The risotto at Fiaschetteria Toscano is always reliable; one of the few that does a traditional squid ink properly. Al Covo always have one good risotto on their menu, usually with crab or baby shrimp.

          1. Best Risotto is to be had in Lombardy or maybe Piemonte, they are the specialists. As you are not going that way, your best bet would be in Venice. Search this board (Italy) for recs on Venice dining, and you'll find what you are looking for.