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Apr 30, 2011 05:58 PM

risotto pan?

I just bought my first LC dutch oven. I am planning on making risotto this week and was going to use it, but wasn't sure if my AC sauté/simmer pan would be better. Thoughts?

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  1. A REAL Chowhounder would make a batch in each and then let us know the results of the experiment. :)

    1 Reply
    1. re: E_M

      Good point! Or also add in a copper piece for true comparison!

      I love my LC braiser for risotto so I vote try the LC. Well, what size is it? If it's got a large enough bottom I'd use it. I think the AC would be great in terms of shape but I like ECI for its thermal properties.

    2. If you make the risotto in traditional fashion--open pot, very frequent stirring, etc.--then I think it cannot make much difference which of these pots you use.

      All that said, I do prefer using my enameled cast iron for risotto. Maybe I'm thinking that the slightly better heat retention makes my 10-minute, closed-top sitting phase at the end work better. But I'm really not sure I have much reason in that supposition...

      4 Replies
      1. re: Bada Bing

        Wouldn't a shallow pan (i.e. skillet) be best for risotto? You don't want it so shallow that you spill while stirring, but if too deep you have to hold the spoon or spatula upright to get at the corners.

        On TV I've seen Venetian cooks actually tossing the rice mix in the air to stir. However in this video
        the cook is using a typical restaurant sauce pan (moderately deep) (about 1 minute in).

        1. re: paulj

          Um, yes that's a good point. The AC is fairly shallow, it's got sides the height of a sauté pan, but sloped. I remember Alton brown making the point another wide surface area and shallow sides, so maybe the AC would be a better choice ...

          1. re: paulj

            I've actually never seen risotto tossed as in the video. That's interesting!

            But in any case, I use a fairly high sided pan for risotto, and the spoon goes upright as need be. (Getting into corners has not been an issue, as the risotto remains pretty fluid most of the time.)

            Using a lower sided pan would indeed increase evaporation, but I don't think it would affect the cooking of the rice. The evaporation would factor into the salt and seasoning balance of the fluids, however. I think it's just a matter of finding what works for your own tastes.

            1. re: paulj

              This is how I make my risotto. I use a small AC sauce pan with tall sides and jolt the pan repeatedly, which makes it jump out about a foot or so in a nice single column and collapses back into the pan. It takes some practice (and messes) to get the hang of it. I only stir with a utensil to get the bottom moving, then jolt it back and forth to make it jump.

          2. I would use the pan that has the roundest bottom.
            I prefer the shape of the orange pan on this page

            1 Reply
            1. re: Rella

              I make risotto the traditional way, constant stirring and I use a saucier. It works perfectly since the bottom is rounded not allowing any of the rice to sit in a "corner" of the pot.

            2. I usually make mine in a heavy pan--both mine are LC pots--so I don't have to worry about burning and can let it rest at the end without losing heat. To each his/her own.

              16 Replies
              1. re: escondido123

                When I made risotto with ramps this weekend, I used a new risotto spoon for the first time. I like the feel of it and it seems lighter and more sturdy than previous wooden spoons I've owned..


                1. re: Rella

                  A risotto spoon? Now that's one I've never heard of. Interesting. What is a risotto spoon and can you post a photo?

                  Edit: Sorry I saw the amazon link too late. Now I know what you're talking about.

                  1. re: Rella

                    That is one expensive wooden spoon! WOW
                    I think I'd rather buy a cheapo 99 cent one and just drill a hole in it LOL, although, I've never had an issue with stirring a risotto that would require special utensils.

                    1. re: Novelli

                      The idea of a risotto spoon (I believe) is that you can stir the rice constantly without breaking as many grains as you might with a solid spoon, as so much of it just flows through the hole. That may or may not be nonsense, but a couple of months ago I bought the same bamboo spoon that Rella linked to because I had a pathological need to buy something at the cookware store (!), this was a nice-looking implement, I didn't already own one, and it was on sale for a mere $3.99. Of course, in the entire period since that purchase, I haven't made risotto even once. And when I do make it, I almost always use a pressure cooker, so there's not much stirring involved anyway!

                      1. re: Miss Priss

                        LOL...I get those same urges when in a cookware store as well, so I can understand that!

                        point taken.

                        1. re: Miss Priss

                          I didn't know risotto could be made (with the same texture effects) in a pressure cooker. Could you describe your method or post a link that looks solid to you?

                          1. re: Bada Bing

                            I just got through touting on another thread the Zojirushi rice cooker - it is much better than any I've had over the past 30 or so years; however, this rice maker does have risotti recipe along with the other recipes. I did make the recipe, and posted it to another group, with a return reply (paraphrasing) to the effect, you didn't really think you could make a satisfactory risotti using a rice maker, did you? No, I didn't, but I tried it out.
                            Same thing with a pressure cooker making risotto - well, maybe I'd try it once to convince myself.

                            1. re: Bada Bing

                              Bada Bing, pressure-cooker risotto is somewhat controversial; there are those who would argue that it's not even risotto, just a risotto-like rice dish. But whatever you want to call it, it works fine for me--and apparently for lots of other people, as there are recipes for it all over the internet. Here's a good example:


                              Give it a try!

                              1. re: Miss Priss

                                I think a basic goal when making risotto is to release starch from the rice so it forms the sauce. In part you achieve that by choosing the right rice. The gradual liquid addition, and frequent stirring in the traditional method (apparently) also promotes this release. But pressure cooking also does this.

                                In my limited experience it is harder to produce light fluffy rice in a pressure cooker. Without pressure that is achieved with a long grain rice, and no stirring during the low temperature phase.

                                Spanish paella uses the short grain rice, but again does not stir. More on whether paella can be done in a pressure cooker:

                                1. re: Miss Priss

                                  I am reminded that people who make bread by hand versus by bread machine always say to the bread machine people: But, there really is something 'earthy' and 'satisfying' about kneading by hand.

                                  Making risotto by pressure cooker vs. stirring in pan could have a certain element of these opposites. There are those who want to do the loving act of stirring - and those who would rather not.

                                  1. re: Rella

                                    ... and then there are those who are happy to stir their risotto on weekends, but prefer to pressure-cook it on weeknights, especially when the end product tastes pretty much the same. As for bread: I've never had bread from a bread machine that, in my opinion, could equal hand-kneaded, oven-baked bread. So I won't take up bread-baking until I have the time and inclination to do it the old-fashioned way.

                                2. re: Miss Priss

                                  Several years ago I got rid of all my wooden spoons -- just sick of them, I guess. I've only bought two since and they are large and not as 'common' wood as the ones that I tossed.

                                  I did toss my old risotto spoon, although at the time, even only a few years back, I had no idea that it was a spoon for risotto.

                                  I like my new one - call it ergonomic possibly? - it feels light, though quite sturdy.

                                  The fun of buying cookware - and specfically anything under $10 -- is that you are not obliged to use it right away or EVER.

                              2. re: Rella

                                I have a wooden spoon with a hole in it. It wasn't called a risotto spoon when I bought it 30 years ago, but it's the same basic effect. Mine comes to a point on one side, useful for scraping things out of corners. It's been my favorite wooden spoon since I bought it. The only time I use a different one is when the pan I'm using would be too big. The holey spoon is 14" long.

                                1. re: Rella

                                  But a spoon with a hole in the center has been around for a long time. Wonder when they started calling it a risotto spoon?

                                  1. re: escondido123

                                    I don't know how "risotto spoon" got its name, or even if it is a legitimate name, but googling something like "wooden spoon with a hole in the middle" brought up this interesting set of posts to a query:

                                    "It looks like a wooden spoon but it has a hole in the middle."


                                    A few chuckles for me.

                              3. I've made risotto in Dutch ovens and in an open cast iron skillet, and both worked well. I admit that I'm religious about the stirring. Both with flat bottoms. I think the bottom line here is that it's not nearly as intimidating as it's made out to be. Just do it.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: lemons

                                  I agree that one can make good risotto any which way one can make it to their satisfaction.

                                  Here is the pot that satisfies me.
                                  Made even easier with my new expensive bambu spoon noted above :-))