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Risotto

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I may get burned at the stake for heresy for aking this, but is it acceptable to use other than the normal types of rice (arborio, etc) to make this dish? I know jasmine or basmati might give an unusual flavor or texture, but how about a medium grain type? Nice Akita Komachi or some such?

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  1. Risotto is a technique, you could use potatoes if you wanted.

    Ming likes to use Sushi rice.

    We use carnarolli (sp?) at work.

    1. Ditto, any rice will do. A medium grain would probably make a better risotto, regardless of the variety of rice selected.
      If you can find Carnaroli rice (short-grain Italian rice) or Arborio rice (which has more starch than the Carnaroli) either will work very well. I would prefer Carnaroli because it holds its shape better.

      1. Agree with the others about it being a technique. I make risotto usually about once a week (that is how much we love it!) and definitely prefer arborio or carnaroli - they are the most successful (i.e. starch content, etc.) and true risotto rices.

        1. My risotto went from just OK to great when I switched to carnaroli rice. I'm working through a box of vialone nanna now and am just as happy.
          Never going back!!

          1 Reply
          1. re: monavano

            Exactly what happened to me too. The texture of the carnaroli is so much better... The arborio I was using before (from whole foods bulk section) seemed to go from too hard to eat to mush in 5 seconds. The carnaroli texture turns out perfect; just like the risotto we had in Milan.

            I wouldn't use jasmine or basmati, unless you don't mind if it is closer to rice pudding; however, more sturdy grains like barley or farro work, but can take forever.

          2. You will not be burned at the stake but I must defend this Italian dish. Risotto is is a method of making a rice dish. Certain types of rice such as arborio, carnaroli and vialone are best suited for this method. Other types of rice may it be jasmine or basmati are best cooked using another method. For example, basmati rice should be soaked first before cooking to allow each grain to puff up and get elongated. Long grain rice do not get creamy when cooked. If it does, it is mushy and not firm like risotto,. One might get a tasty dish using whatever type of rice one wants. Call it pilaf or whatever name you want, but it is not risotto.

            2 Replies
            1. re: PBSF

              As an editor, I just have to say that risotto is a noun, not a verb. So where you might say I fried the steak or I steamed the asparagus, I don't think one can say I "risottoed" the potatoes. If I order risotto, I believe it should be made with rice unless it is specified otherwise as in "barley risotto" or "potatoes risotto-style." Am I wrong on this?

              1. re: escondido123

                Yes, you have to contract the words and ask for "barotto" or "porotto" or "farrotto"
                Just kidding! (but the names are kinda cute)

            2. Thanks for all the replies. We buy medium grain (calrose) rice by the huge sack, so we have that on hand at all times. It's fairly starchy. I'll try that first and grab a small bag of the "proper" variety later.

              J.Dish, sushi rice, as in vinagered? Or just Japanese rice?

              1. You can use whatever rice you want, except Uncle Ben's.

                1 Reply
                1. re: ipsedixit

                  Many many years ago I began making risotto using Uncle Ben's. It was far distant from the risotto I make today, but it was still a revelation. I think grappelling with new techniques when the ingredients weren't yet available was an interesting experience and made better cooks of many of us.

                2. I wonder if broken rice would work in making a tasty risotto. Broken rice releases plenty of starch and it's less expensive than arborio to boot. I guess it's all in the technique really.

                  1. I always thought that a short fat rice like arborio was desirable because of higher starch content yielding a more creamy risotto. Also use homemade stock if you can.