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Use arborio rice and really good home made chicken stock for risotto? I don't.

I was taught to use $3.00 per pound arborrio rice and good gelatinous home made chicken stock to make risotto. Stirring in 1 ladle of chicken stock at a time, the starch from the rice makes it all creamy. It's great.

One day I made risotto for my wife and she said she preferred the standard long grain rice. She said she could taste a difference. Well, I really couldn't taste much difference but my wife is my broker. You know, E.F Mama, when she talks you listen?

Anyway, I tried making risotto with regular long grain enriched rice using the same technique as with risotto, adding stock 1 ladle at a time and stirring. Well, there was plenty of starch in the 79 cents a pound long grain. It got all creamy just like standard risotto and tasted fine.

Finally, there came a day when I wanted to make risotto but didn't have any of my good chicken stock available so I used a carton of low sodium chicken stock and augmented it with chicken base. Chicken base makes the relatively tasteless carton stock taste like chicken.

The risotto turned out great. In fact, it seemed better than when I used my good stock. It seems chicken base has even more chicken taste than my good stock. I didn't need the gelatinous mouth feel from my good stock because of the starch.

Now when I make risotto, I use long grain rice and canned or carton low sodium stock augmented with chicken base even though I have arborrio in the pantry and I have good stock in the freezer. I recommend you do too.

Now, before you criticize me too harshly, try it yourself. I can't tell the difference, taste wise. If you can use the cheaper ingredients with good effect, why not?

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  1. I wonder if part of what is driving your experience is that the canned stock plus chicken base yields a saltier (and hence more savory) result; chicken base also generally has MSG and MSG-like stuff (hydrolyzed proteins), which also probably help. Would be interested to see if you added an equivalent amount of salt and some MSG to your homemade stock. Of course, if you like your easy-peasy recipe as it is, why bother? Still, always nice to understand what is going on....

    7 Replies
    1. re: zamorski

      Without a doubt, chicken base is certainly salty. It even made the overall dish slightly saltier than I would have if I had made the dish with regular stock. I try not to add too much salt to my home made stock and I defat it which is where most of the salt is. When I make risotto with chicken base, I don't add salt at all because chicken base is so salty.

      However, one of the main advantages of home made stock is the gelatin and the luxurious mouth feel that imparts. With the starch in risotto, there is no need for the gelatin so why waste your good stock?

      I like to play scientist but I doubt that i will go back and try adding salt and msg to my stock to test your theory. It is a good point though.

      1. re: Hank Hanover

        That's interesting. I think you're very brave for posting about it on a food site :-)

        1. re: jvanderh

          Apparently Marcella Hazan only uses broth not stock in her risotto and she is very highly thought of on chowhound. Apparently she does for a different reason. According to the another thread here. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6826...

          She doesn't want a super chickeny taste in her risotto and I guess I can see that if you are adding asparagus or some other veggies and don't want to overpower the veggies. Then the chicken flavor would definitely take a back seat. I, however want the chicken flavor to be the star.

          I am going to keep that in mind though if I try a different risotto and want a different flavor.

          I think it sort of proves my point about the good stock though. With the starch, you don't need the gelatin associated with a good stock.

        2. re: Hank Hanover

          In case you are not aware, Better Than Bouillon makes both a regular and a reduced sodium chicken base but most supermarkets don't carry the lower sodium one. It's still pretty salty but IME is a better choice when the broth is going to be reduced. It is available online.

          1. re: greygarious

            Yes "Better than Bouillon" is a good product, and available in many bases, clam to pork etc. The full line is now at Publix.

            1. re: greygarious

              I use it - and dilute it way more than they say to.

            2. re: Hank Hanover

              I would never add salt to my glorious stock (made from chicken feet and backs). I'm wondering why you do please.

          2. Hank you are not alone... I made risotto from short grain rice (about 25% of the price of arborio) and chicken stock cubes when I was a student, and liked the result better than most of what I later ate in restaurants.

            Sure, the proper way is, well, the proper way, and the results are excellent. I often make stock for other uses. But for family meals? - Hank, you and I can do it our way! Cheaper and with easy, punchy flavour!

            I think you are correct when you say that you can dispense with the gelatin when the rice imparts so much starch.

            And the cherry on top is that I don't use the ladle and stir technique, either - the liquids go into the rice in two batches. I do stir frequently, however, and monitor the rice for the correct degree of 'done-ness'.

            The results are very good, definitely in keeping with the style of classical risotto despite their dubious origins.

            1. I dont really make risotto so often but I like to cook rice with chicken or veggie stock and maybe starting of by frying an onion and then the rice but then I put all the stock in and let it cook, and it turns out great every time :) and i dont know if i should confess this but i normaly use stock cubes or fond.. organic and msg free..

              1. The thing about traditional Italian risotto is the rich creamy finish the dish has. Chicken broth is used, short grain rice, white wine, and at the end butter and grated Parmigiano Reggiano. That's it. Risotto. Anything else is simply cooked rice, delicious in it's own right for sure. Call what you make anything at all, but don't call it risotto.

                34 Replies
                1. re: Gio

                  The use of long grain rice and strongly flavored base and canned broth; is not a bad combination; but it is more like a Cuban Chicken and Rice, not a true Risotto. I prefer the Carnaroli rice and a homemade broth of oven browned, carrot, celery, beef bones,and raw whole chicken and sauted onions added to complete the broth.

                  1. re: ospreycove

                    We often cook Basmati or Jasmine rice in chicken broth. Very nice it is too. It's especially tasty along side steamed broccoli or roasted asparagus. Makes a wonderful pilaf as well, with all the right ingredients.

                  2. re: Gio

                    I'm not sure I would call chicken and rice risotto but I would if I cooked it using the same techniques and components. Isn't chili a stew, shepherd's pie a stew under mashed potatoes, gazpacho a soup?

                    Polenta looks a lot like what my grandma called corn meal mush.

                    Is it still filet mignon if I broil it or pan fry it with a pan sauce? How about if I sear it and cook it to medium rare in a sous vide tank?

                    We aren't contestants on "chopped" and we don't have to get a self anointed chef to agree with our terminology.

                    1. re: Hank Hanover

                      >>"we don't have to get a self anointed chef to agree with our terminology"<<

                      No, but unless the parties to a conversation share an understanding of what words mean, communication is impossible. If you want to start describing anything that's red as being "green" and vice-versa, nobody can stop you. But it sure makes it harder to talk about when tomatoes are ready to eat.

                      Risotto is by definition made with short-grained rice. Arborio, carnaroli, and vialone nano are traditional, but sushi rice works just fine, too. You might even stretch the definition to include something made with a medium-grain rice like Calrose.

                      But a dish made with long-grain rice has a fundamentally different texture than one made with the short-grain stuff. Because the texture is so different, the name of the dish is different, too - it's no longer risotto, it's pilaf.

                      Of course, you should feel free to substitute long-grain rice for short-grain rice and call dishes made with one by the name of similar dishes made with the other. Maybe you can even get the billion-plus people who eat rice on a daily basis to discard the absurd distinction between the indica and japonica varieties and agree with you that they're interchangeable. Or not...

                      1. re: alanbarnes

                        Once you make your risotto with onions and wine and parmesan cheese and a flavorful stock or broth, I doubt very much if you are going to taste any difference in much of any rice.

                        Rice is fairly mild. Some may be so bold as to say it is bland which is why it needs all those very strong flavors. Although some Japanese friends of mine would tell you that rice didn't need any flavoring at all.

                        The texture may even be different although my uneducated palette couldn't tell.

                        Yes you will see a difference. The grains are longer and so you can convince yourself that you taste a difference.

                        I have tried it both ways. Have you?

                        1. re: Hank Hanover

                          "you can convince yourself that you taste a difference"

                          Um, no, there's a difference. A real, measureable difference. Researchers use something called a "texturometer" to quantify it. http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/jo...

                          There's plenty of scientific research out there that analyzes the roles of things like amylose levels, gelatinization ratios, and starch content to figure out **why** short-grain rice cooks up softer and stickier than long-grain. But there's no dispute that it does.

                          Of course, you're free to try to convince yourself that despite the data there **isn't** a difference. Heck, you've apparently convinced yourself that onions and shallots are interchangeable too. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/724710

                          So knock yourself out. But seriously - don't expect people who actually know anything about food to agree with you.

                          1. re: Hank Hanover

                            I made risotto once with Trader Joe's generic Arborio and good home-made stock. The result was wrong, texture and flavor wise. Since this was a meal for a dear friend going through chemo, we wanted it to be as good as we knew how to make it, so we started over again, this time with good quality Arborio. It turned out "right." I don't know where Trader Joe's was sourcing their imitation arborio, but something about the starch levels, polish, or other parameters wasn't the way it should be, and we were 100% convinced the rice was at fault, not our technique, as we'd made risotto countless times, always the same way. Our other ingredients (stock, cheese) were identical.

                            1. re: Hank Hanover

                              Hank Hanover and Alan Barnes,

                              It seems to me we have an impasse here. Hank is saying (I think), "Hey, I've found a way to make risotto with cheaper ingredients. It tastes exactly the same as traditional risotto." Alan Barnes is saying, "You can't call it risotto because it's not made with the right ingredients."

                              So Hank is defining risotto by taste and Alan is defining risotto by ingredients. This dispute could not be resolved unless Alan made "risotto" Hank's way to see if it tastes the same. A blind taste test would probably be necessary . . .

                              However, even if Alan found that Hank's technique produced a food that tasted identical to traditional risotto, I doubt that Alan would consider the result to be risotto because it wasn't made with arborio rice.

                              Personally, Hank, I'm skeptical because I just can't believe that soup base is going to yield the same sort of flavor as homemade chicken stock, but I am looking forward to trying your technique to see.

                              1. re: gfr1111

                                Actually, I believe AB's argument is based more on texture than ingredient. You may make a risotto with long-grain rice that TASTES like risotto, but it's just not going to FEEL like risotto. And I have to agree - while I'm not too fussy about the broth/stock portion (in my house with its limited storage/freezer space, BTB gets used a LOT), the thought of those long, skinny, pointy grains just doesn't quite compute. The fat, roly-poly quality of the rice is part of what makes it so wonderful, not just the creamy...buttery...cheesy...um, I think I need a moment...

                                1. re: Wahooty

                                  Risotto is defined by:
                                  -- Specific rice flavor
                                  -- Caramelized rice flavors, from the initial rice cooking, before the “ri-” (second) cooking of risotto
                                  -- Rice toothsomeness, resistance, from 1) rice shape, 2) inherent structure, and 3) cooking method
                                  --“Gravy,” creaminess, from the rice starch (before any other ingredients are added)
                                  -- Glutinous, gelantinous and sticky mouthfeel qualities.

                                  Risotto rices and long-grain rice have distinct but subtle flavor differences. Risotto prep methods
                                  augment those differences (caramelizing starches during the initial cooking, in fat).

                                  The different texture, resistance and toothsomeness of arborio rice (and its cousins) and long-grain "bite" found is due to a defect in the arborio called chalk": "During maturation, the starch structures at the grain's core deform, making for a firm, toothy center when cooked.”* .

                                  Difference in amylase and amylopectin between the two types of rices mean a difference in glutinous and gelatinous qualities. Risotto rices form their own “gravy,” and create a “creamy” texture. Long-grain rices don’t. Combine the difference in risotto rice’s glutinous and gelatinous qualities with a difference in stock’s gelatinous properties and you have an entirely different “mouthfeel," sense of lingering flavor and textural satiety.

                                  The glory of risotto is in the details. Add up the many tiny differences between risotto rices and long-grain and those differences create a much larger difference.

                                  *From America’s Test Kitchen:
                                  “We made our Parmesan risotto for this test with four types of rice: standard long grain, converted par-cooked long grain, regular medium grain (we chose Goya brand from the supermarket), and short grain (sushi-style rice). The two long-grained varieties bombed, turning mushy and lacking the creaminess essential to risotto. The par-boiled rice—Uncle Ben's, in this case—also had the jarring, unmistakable flavor of pre-cooked rice. Medium- and short-grain rice fared much better, earning passing grades from most tasters, who agreed that these batches possessed all the creaminess of risotto made with Arborio, though not its al dente bite. So the long and short of it? If you're in a pinch and can't find Arborio, look for medium- or short-grain rice for an acceptable—but not perfect—batch of risotto. But for the best risotto, choose one of our recommended brands of Arborio rice.” http://www.cooksillustrated.com/taste...

                                  1. re: maria lorraine

                                    the word "toothsome" is being used more and more frequently to mean what maria is implying here. but that is not the correct definition. i guess eventually, this intended meaning will take over the actual meaning to supplant it in dictionaries, too.

                                    1. re: alkapal

                                      "Al dente-ness" isn't as toothsome of a word.

                                      1. re: alkapal

                                        thanks, alkapal. I did look up toothsome before I wrote. Merriam-Webster's second definition refers to "pleasing texture": http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictio...

                                      2. re: maria lorraine

                                        This is interesting--thanks. I think it's funny that they even tried Uncle Ben's par boiled rice in the test. The result for it seems to be a given.

                            2. re: Gio

                              Gio, have you tried Kokuho Rose rice cooked in the manner of risotto? It is similar to the rices of Italy, southern France and Spain.

                              1. re: Father Kitchen

                                No I haven't Father Kitchen. I understand it's a sushi rice. Can't decide if it's a new varietal from California or an heirloom rice from Japan. Have you used it for risotto? If it's a medium grain rice it should work.

                                1. re: Gio

                                  Kohuko Rose is an old (1940s?) California-grown medium-grain rice. Good stuff, although for risotto I prefer short-grain like Tamanishiki (Koshihikari x Yumegokochi, also grown in California).

                                  1. re: alanbarnes

                                    So, Alan...you use Japanese rice for risotto....

                                    1. re: Gio

                                      All risotto is made with Japanese rice. The traditional rices of Italy are varieties of Oryza sativa L. japonica - that's Latin for "Japanese rice."

                                      I'd say that short-grain sushi rice and Vialone Nano are more similar to each other than either is to Arborio or Carnaroli. And any of them can make a perfectly serviceable risotto.

                                      1. re: alanbarnes

                                        Good to know, Alan. I wish I had paid more attention to Sam when he talked rice. I do know horticultural Latin so can appreciate your nomenclature.

                                        1. re: Gio

                                          I should have read all the new posts before answering you Gio. I was thinking of Kokuho Rose's similarity to Vialone Nano. But, Alan, where can I find Tamanshiki rice?

                                          1. re: Father Kitchen

                                            It's one of the more popular short-grain rices grown in California. At least around here, pretty much every Japanese market carries it, as do most places that stock a good variety of Japaneses groceries.

                                        2. re: alanbarnes

                                          How about Valencia short grain rice? I can get 12 oz bags for just over a dollar. I use this as anternative to Japanese sushi rice and Italian Arborio rice with good results.

                                    2. re: Gio

                                      Gio, it is an heirloom rice from Japan according to the growers, who say it works well for risotto. The Mediterranean rices are all japonica types. Here's where we need Sam. I would think it is very similar to descriptions I have read of some of the Venetian rice types. The arborio I have seen is a bit larger. But the cooking characteristics are similar. It is the best tasting rice I know, though Sam preferred a rice from the Thai Cambodia border a bit more than this. But I haven't tried risotto with it. Maybe I will next Saturday. Last Saturday, I used in pilaf and then got lazy and put some browned chicken in the same pot and added a bit more broth half way through the cooking. It was a lot like risotto, but not quite the same.

                                      1. re: Father Kitchen

                                        It seems that Kohuko Rose is a California invention that was bred from Japanese varieties. According to Koda Farms, which owns the name, "a rice-breeding program was established at the [Dos Palos, California] farm that resulted in a unique variety of rice that Keisaburo named Kokuho Rose™. In 1963, Kokuho Rose™ was introduced to the domestic market as the first premium 'medium' grain rice. Unique in appearance as well as flavor, Kokuho Rose quickly became established as the favorite of Japanese Americans throughout the country." http://www.kodafarms.com/hist_about.html

                                  2. re: Gio

                                    i had risotto in italy w/ bone marrow and saffron. risotto ala milenese.

                                    i've seen risotto, in italy, with spring peas, or mushrooms.

                                    all real authentic risotto.

                                    1. re: thew

                                      Oh yes, Thew. I too have had real risottos with various additions, including lobster. Loved that! In my original statement up thread I was refering to a basic risotto.

                                      Viva risotto. But I do love a great tasting pilaf too.

                                      1. re: Gio

                                        When would you add the lobster, Joe? Just before serving? Sounds SO divine.

                                        1. re: c oliver

                                          What timing! Not half an hour ago I received in the mail Jasper White's "Lobster t Home"--a recommendation of rubee's that I stumbled upon when looking for something else. The first recipe I intended to turn to was the risotto since I have both lobster stock and lobster remouillage in the freezer. White says the cooked, room temperature lobster meat should be stirred in just before the pan is removed from the heat.

                                          He has a variation on the basic recipe that includes dried porcini! I can hardly stand it!

                                          1. re: JoanN

                                            Oh wow. I really need to check out your freezer :) Doesn't that sound good?

                                            1. re: JoanN

                                              Joan.. you're going to Love that Jasper White book. I've had it for a few years now and everthing we've made has been marvelous. I'm lucky enough to live relatively close to his Boston/Cambridge restaurants, Many happy memories chowing down with Himself in the House.

                                              1. re: Gio

                                                I haven't really had a chance to sit down with it yet (I received "Pig: King of the Southern Table" by James Villas the day before and haven't been able to tear myself away from it.) I have to keep reminding myself that lobster, one of my all-time favorite foods, is often less expensive these days than many other protein choices. When I saw the Jasper White (whose timing I've always used for cooking lobster) book used/almost new for not much more than the shipping cost, I jumped. So happy to hear you've had such good success with it.

                                            2. re: c oliver

                                              CO... didn't make the risotto with lobster but had it at a Boston restaurant. Not Jasper White's unfortunately. But, if I were making risotto with lobster I would steam the lobster first.,till just done. Let cool enough to handle, take the meat out of the tail and claws....saving the rest for another dish. I would make the risotto as usual, Chop (ever so gently) the lobster meat into bite sized pieces and add to the risotto. including any juices. at the very end. Heat through, taste, adjust seasoning and serve.

                                              1. re: Gio

                                                What's especially appealing to me about this is that you wouldn't have to have a ginormous amount of lobster. So serving six would be affordable. Thanks, kiddo.

                                      2. Yes to arborio; no to homemade stock. I'll usually go with Kitchen Basics.

                                        6 Replies
                                          1. re: c oliver

                                            Cost vs. benefits. Making homemade stock takes ca. 3 hrs. and I don't think it is so superior to Kitchen Basics that it will make a significant difference in the risotto. Now if I'm making a chicken stock-based soup, that's a different story.

                                            1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                              I don't make stock to save money. I make it because it is superior to anything out of a can or a box. The last batch I made took about 18 hours and I have more than a gallon and plan to make more. Oh, btw, there was no effort at all. I learn from some CHs and don't learn from some others. But the late Sam Fujisaka taught me this and when he spoke I paid attention.

                                                1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                  The time was completely unattended. Just a matter of putting the "parts" in the pot, adding water and bringing to a boil. Then into the slow oven it went for 18 hours. I couldn't have opened a gallon's worth of canned broth in that amount of time. To me it's no price to pay for a vastly superior product. That why I grind my own beef,pork and turkey. Superior product.

                                                  1. re: c oliver

                                                    Well at least you're willing to countenance the notion of superiority. That puts you a couple of intelligence classifications above most postmodern folk.

                                        1. In defense of the OP:

                                          I am no expert in either pilaf or risotto, and as such I could be empirically wrong. But isn't pilaf traditionally cooked in a different manner - adding stock all at once (more or less) and cooking from that point without stirring?

                                          It sounds like the OP is not describing a 'pilaf' (because that would imply a different technique), but using a risotto technique in application to pilaf ingredients. If that is the case, the most readily understood term for his rice dish would be 'long-grain risotto' regardless of whether or not the term pisses off purists. Seriously - think of a better way to describe his dish without making it sound far too clunky.

                                          To the OP, I appreciate the suggestion - I've never tried applying risotto technique to long grain rice, and maybe i'll give it a try sometime. I suspect your preference for canned broth was, as another poster suggested, actually a preference for more salt and/or added MSG, though I agree that some dishes can turn out perfectly fine substituting for real stock/broth.

                                          1. Let's just call it a Poor Man's Risotto or Risotto alla Povera and be done with it, OK? ;)

                                            Geez, this is almost as pointless as debating sauce vs gravy with someone from South Hackensack, New Jersey.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. I'm right there with you. I also use chicken base. I've tried making stock many times, and I'm never quite happy with the taste of the final product. I use my time for other things that are more rewarding for me, like making homemade yogurt and mayonnaise.
                                              I've even used long-grain rice on occasion. And I do the low maintenance style of adding the liquid in 2-3 batches rather than hovering with a ladle. And I call it risotto because there are no food police in my house. ;-) Most (okay, all) of the food I cook has been customized in some way to ingredient availability or personal tastes. And I suspect Italian grandmothers who might actually be authorized to make official risotto do so in their own homes too. I think it's perfectly fine to adjust recipes to suit you. Though I'm sure I'd give some disclaimers when representing it to others.

                                              3 Replies
                                              1. re: patricium

                                                I don't disagree with all those who say If it works for you, go for it. Me, I use Carnaroli rice and firmly believe that the better the stock the better the risotto.

                                                What I want to comment on, though, is adding the liquid in 2-3 batches instead of the traditional stir 'til absorbed before adding more. Even though I was using superior rice and superior stock, I would get impatient toward the end and pour in larger and larger amounts of stock. The last time I made risotto the recipe I was looking at recommended that you add less and less stock as the cooking progresses. I did that, and ended up with the best risotto I'd ever made. I thought perhaps it was because I was stirring more. I decided to see what Marcella had to say about that.

                                                " It is only through the gradual administration of small quantities of liquid, through its simultaneous absorption and evaporation, and through constant stirring, that the rice's soft starch is transformed into a clinging agent, pulling the grains together and fastening on them the taste of the flavor base. Rice that is not stirred, that stews in too much liquid . . . may turn into a perfectly agreeable dish, but it is not risotto, and will not taste like risotto."

                                                As I said, do what works for you. But oh my goodness, did this ever work for me.

                                                1. re: JoanN

                                                  It is my understanding that Marcella Hazen doesn't use stock in her risotto. I believe she uses broth. The reason I don't recommend stock is simple. It seems a waste to use stock. When stock is used, the recipe is taking advantage of the gelatinous nature of stock. The mouth-feel if you will.

                                                  With risotto, you are using the starch on the rice to mix with the liquid to become thick and creamy. That is going to happen with or without gelatin or collagen. The mouth-feel will be the same with or without collagen. So why use your good stock?

                                                  You would certainly want to use a full flavored broth unless maybe the vegetables like asparagus was going to be the star of the dish.

                                                  I certainly understand your point about stirring it in 1 ladle at a time and I know everybody starts getting impatient after 20 minutes of stirring.

                                                  1. re: Hank Hanover

                                                    You are absolutely right. She does recommend broth, not stock. I have a small freezer. I don't make both broth and stock. When I need broth, I dilute my stock. Marcella's broth is made of about 40% bones. So there's plenty of collagen in her broth, too.

                                                    Anyway, didn't come here to argue collagen and starch. Came here to say what works for me.

                                              2. I understand the purists. But I also call sparkling wine "champagne". Sticklers can feel free to point out the error of my usage. Meanwhile I will be enjoying my drink.

                                                I say call it whatever the hail you want. If it is LIKE risotto, call it risotto. Finger pointing, clothes pinned nose, high fallutin' folks and their airs be darned!

                                                3 Replies
                                                1. re: Sal Vanilla

                                                  I feel the same way. But don't you be a-puttin' any o' those nasty beans in my chili! ;)

                                                  1. re: Sal Vanilla

                                                    I agree with you, up to the point where anyone feels they can add dairy to avocado and call it "guacamole." That's where I draw the line!

                                                    My DH screwed with me the other day when making guac by asking, totally straight-faced, "How much yogurt do you think I should add to this?"

                                                    1. re: Sal Vanilla

                                                      I guess if you want to be REALLY purist about it i've worked with an Italian chef who believed risotto should be made with either veggies or seafood but never chicken.

                                                      Personally I make mine with a strong leek and garlic stock. Japanese rice (koshihikari, it's easier to get good quality japanese rice, Japanese are real picky so the rice it pretty fresh usually) and lots of butter, and pecorino romano and all' Onda (real wet)

                                                    2. Your statement about E. F. Mamma (Italian spelling) cracks me up. My wife, with Italian genes, requires 'creamy' (creamier than I like) so lots of butter and grated Parmigiano Reggiano is added to the risotto that I make. So I'm adding lots of those 2 just before serving it.

                                                      1. I am glad to see that the thread has accomplished what I wanted which was a discussion. With people other than Alan Barnes and myself contributing.

                                                        I thought it was interesting that long grain rice pretty much acted the same as arborio. Apparently, any rice that hasn't had the starch cleaned off will generate a sauce whether it tastes exactly the same or has exactly the same texture or not.

                                                        Now, I don't like being taken advantage of. It bothers me that arborio rice is $3.00 per pound and regular rice is $0.75 a pound. In homage to the purists, I am going to experiment with other kinds of rice... short and medium grain ones. I suspect a few of them are far cheaper than arborio.

                                                        As for the stock, I suspect few people actually use pure stock (made from bones only). Because if they did, the stock would result in a very gelatinous substance that mildly tasted like chicken. Most people add up to 40% meat in their "stocks" to attain the flavor they want. Well, I suspect that is broth because it is made with meat and bones but it is still gelatinous.

                                                        I have already explained why I don't think the gelatin component is needed in this dish.

                                                        I used a canned broth or stock and added some chicken base to it because the canned broth doesn't taste strongly of chicken but chicken base does.

                                                        I probably should but I don't make a gallon of chicken stock/broth every 2 weeks so I try not to use it except when it is necessary. Does this combo taste as good as home made, probably not.

                                                        The dish I made was pretty good. I liked it a lot. If you want to use arborio and your best stock, get after it. Your result may even be 5-10% better than mine.

                                                        I probably won't make too many more comments on this thread but I hope you folks continue to discuss it.

                                                        There better not be any celebrations at the thought that I won't say anything more on this! :-D

                                                        10 Replies
                                                        1. re: Hank Hanover

                                                          Just thought I'd point out that you can get Calrose, japanese rice for about 1.00$ a pound. It's better than Arborio (which is an Italian export rice anyway) which is in turn better than using long grain rice. Using long grain rice just ends up with over cooked rice and a watery 'sauce'

                                                          Personally I'd rather use a cort boullion or my leek stock than base, I just don't like that tinny flavor. By the time I mount my brown butter, cauliflower puree it doesn't make a difference.

                                                            1. re: ospreycove

                                                              I like 1) Vialone nano or 2) Carnaroli in that order for Itlalian varieties

                                                              1. re: AAQjr

                                                                I am aware of the rice varieties that you mentioned, but where do you find them? I do not see them on local stores. Please inform me of your source(s). Thanks!

                                                                1. re: ChiliDude

                                                                  I'm not AAQjr but.... I buy vialone and canaroli rices at a specialty/ international market in Cambridge MA. (Formaggio Kitchen) So, if there's an Italian market or a store that sells foods from around the globe where you live that would be the place to look first. Then, there's always mail order.


                                                                  1. re: ChiliDude

                                                                    There I can't help you. Here in L.A. they are not all that hard to find.

                                                                    1. re: ChiliDude

                                                                      Chili Dude, your profile indicates you are Middle Atlantic States. That's a long stretch. You can get most anything at Kalustyans in New York, and they ship. See their web site. I think I've seen the Vialone nano at Wegman's, but I am not sure about that.

                                                                      1. re: ChiliDude

                                                                        I would try an Italian deli, like Bay Cities here in Santa Monica.. or Restaurant supply that are open to the public. Here we have 'Surfas' or Guidi Marcello. Good Luck.

                                                                        1. re: AAQjr

                                                                          We have Litteri's in DC, and the East Coast is full of Italian specialty shops. But if ChiliDude's location is in the rural hinterlands, he may find it easier to mail order.

                                                                        2. re: ChiliDude

                                                                          i'm guessing that "whole foods" markets might have what you seek.

                                                                2. Well....I find it impossible not to have an opinion on this although I haven't read the whole thread. My problem is the first sentence and the use of generic arborio rice. When "long grain rice" appeared I can no longer shut up! There are TEXTURAL differences from different arborio such as violane nano, carneroli, baldi, etc. There are differences from suppliers of each. To be honest I must question where you've had risotto to measure your's against? It is extremely difficult to find seriously good risotto in Italy let alone the U. S. Most chefs will not dedicate 20 or so minutes for someone to stand there and stir. This is before we even discuss the kind of arborio, stock, wine, butter, Reggiano, etc. that they may use.

                                                                  This was labelled by Chowhound as the most infamous post of all time on here ("Chowhound Ten"): http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/2889... I wrote it because someone insisted they could make good risotto in a pressure cooker. You cannot. I suspect that I and perhaps others have a different definiton and expectation of risotto than you do. It is not enough for a risotto to be creamy. For some there should almost be a kind of wavy creaminess with an awareness of individual kernals of rice within this. It is very difficult to nail the texture of exemplery risotto. It is impossible without the proper ingredients. The strength of the stock/broth you are using depends on the risotto. The volume of this also depends on the risotto. On the recipe and thread linked I only use two cups of stock and one and one half cups of wine. For other risottos I may use as many as four or five cups and less wine. Please forgive me for being so outspoken but I view exemplery risotto as a kind of art form; there is a real technique that is involved in making it. In combination with the proper ingredients.

                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                    1. re: Joe H

                                                                      Just curious: Why do you talk as if V.N. carneroli ect.. are varieties of arborio? They are all separate varieties.

                                                                      And you are right most risotto in restaurants in par cooked, chilled, then finished to order. I do have to say that looks really light on the stock. Usually I use a 1L per 500g of rice plus the wine. That does look like a nice combo of flavors though.

                                                                      1. re: AAQjr

                                                                        Joe H.....No getting around the "stand and stir" time for a good risotto. I agree the preparation of risotto does approach an art!!