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Aug 3, 2011 07:22 PM

How can I make risotto like Hell's Kitchen?

I know it takes an hour to make risotto; I've done it several times. But watching Hell's Kitchen, I realize that they churn out bowls of the most delicious risotto in no time. What's their secret? Do they prep the rice beforehand and then add the rest of the ingredients? It'd be nice to be able to make small amounts like that for myself at home rather than a whole pot (not that a whole pot doesn't get devoured! lol)

Any ideas?

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    1. An hour? Scratch risotto should take 25, 30 minutes tops. But yes, restaurants often do the first 15 minutes of the cooking and then hold in the fridge, usually in portion sized lumps or on a sheet pan.

      Here are a couple of ways to do that at home:

      6 Replies
      1. re: acgold7

        My husband and I were just talking about this 30 minutes tops to make risotto. I guess we like ours a little more done, because when you add in the sitting time at the end we find it closer to 40 minutes from very start to finish beginning with a cold pan.

        1. re: escondido123

          I suppose it could go a little longer, but every recipe I've ever read calls for 15 to 20 minutes of stirring with the broth. With all the other stuff it's usually on the table in 30 minutes at my place but of course YMMV. But an hour total would give you mush, I would think.

          I've never heard of any sitting time being prescribed; every recipe I've ever read says serve immediately. Otherwise it tightens up and you lose that nice slight little pool of liquid you're supposed to have around each grain.

          Edit: Just checked Lidia Bastianich's Basic Risotto to make sure I'm not nuts. She specifies 8 minutes for sauteing the aromatics, 1 to 2 minutes for toasting the rice, and 16 to 20 minutes from the time the wine is added to service. And she says serve immediately.

          1. re: acgold7

            I agree that one hour would be too long, but 40 from cold pan to plate works well for me. When I say let it rest, I mean a couple of minutes, which is the way I have seen regularly with some chefs, but of course this is part of the making that is done differently by different people. I add the very last ladle of broth along with the final seasonings and then take it off the heat to sit, I find it gives me the creamy texture I prefer and my husband does like the rice softer than others prefer. Edit note: I cook using Bugialli's recipes a lot and on his basic risotto he state "rice should be al dente, not overcooked, and no liquid should be left unabsorbed."

            1. re: escondido123

              Interesting. A little more research reveals this Marcella Hazan quote: "All risotto can be grouped into two basic styles that differ in the consistency at which they aim. There is the compact, more tightly knit, somewhat stickier style of Piedmont, Lombardy, and Emilia-Romagna and the looser, runny style of the Veneto, known as all'onda, 'wavy.'"

              Looks like Bugialli is in the former camp. You learn something every day.

              1. re: acgold7

                Thanks for that info--guess I've mainly cooked the comparatively "southern" style.

                1. re: acgold7


                  Your source is correct. And no cheese either, if one wishes to do as most Italians do.

                  Restaurants serve a large amount of food to customers all day and perhaps all night, and pre-prep is mandatory to remain in business. Unless you are planning a party of 200+ or more, you would need a village style cauldron to cook. Why try and emulate that, when you can do better at home ?

                  Successful home made results are derived from slow, constant figure-eight stirring working out the rice starch, and keeping the rice from drying out as one cooks. Broth is better used at the early stages, with a small amount of dry Vermouth perhaps, just 10 minutes from the finish.

                  Adding an island cooktop 15 years ago, and having guests around you enjoying a little wine and music as one cooks and stirs, we found is a pleasant way to create a good Risotto, pass the time, and the wine.

        2. Gordon Ramsays quick method of preparing risotto.

          This is the quick method that he used to prepare risotto for the F Word TV restaurant on his TVseries, according to a British website. It's probably also used on the Helll's Kitchen series.


          400g (about 1 lb - 2 cups) risotto rice (such as arborio or carnaroli)
          1 litre (about 4 cups) brown chicken (or vegetable) stock
          150g (about 1-1/4 cups) shelled broad (fava) beans
          150g (about 1-1/4 cups) peas (or petits pois), thawed if frozen
          50g (about 1/2 cup) freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra shavings to serve
          25g (about 1-1/2 Tbs) butter, cut into cubes
          handful fresh chives(optional), chopped
          sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

          To make the risotto, wash the rice in cold water and strain off. Put into a pan with 500ml (about 2 cups) of chicken stock, 500ml (about 2 cups) water and a generous pinch of salt. Bring the liquid to a simmer and blanch the rice for 7 minutes. Drain well and spread out on a lightly oiled tray to cool down. Store, covered, in fridge for up to 24-hours.

          To finish the risotto, place the blanched rice in a shallow pan and pour in just enough chicken stock to cover. Bring to the boil quickly and cook, stirring frequently, until nearly all of the stock has evaporated. Taste the risotto to see if is al dente, adding a little more stock if it needs a bit more cooking. Add the broad beans, peas, Parmesan and a few knobs of butter. Cook for a further few minutes until the beans are tender. Season to taste. Finally add the fresh chives if desired.

          The second half of this recipe takes about 10 minutes.

          This uses 2 cups of rice so it should make 4 main dish servings or 6 side dish servings.The basic point of this recipe is to do most of the work making risotto ahead of time. This technique is mainly used in restaurants. The rice is cooked partially, refrigerated and then finished, quickly when the dish is ordered. That's why it is refrigerated. Just for storage. Using this method gets the risotto to the customer quickly, they don't have to wait 20 or 30 minutes for fresh risotto to be made.

          If you are cooking the risotto from beginning to end at home, I would just use a regular risotto recipe. You could use the recipe above and just cook it until it's done without the refrigeration part.

          This recipe comes from the British TV website that produces Gordon Ramsay's programs.

          7 Replies
          1. re: Antilope

            He left out the secret ingredient: spittle ;^D

            1. re: greygarious

              Another HK secret ingredient??? Cheftestant Sweat :-)

              1. re: dave_c

                Slight tobacco / tobacco smoke flavoring from all the nicotine stained fingers?

                1. re: Antilope

                  Yes, this continues to shock me/gross me out, although after reading Tony Bourdain's first book I guess it shouldn't. No wonder none of them can taste anything.

                  1. re: Antilope

                    lol! So true.

                    I forget to add the tears from the cheftestants after a berating by GR. These are magical anguish tears (with some crocodile tears mixed in) that should not to be confused with tears of joy.

                2. re: Antilope

                  What really bothers me is that almost Every cooking show they have long hair hanging down..In the kitchen! I was brought up to not even go into the Kitchen unless you have your hair pulled back!! I'm very strict about this!

                3. Well, first you have to find a really tall blonde guy to stand near you and yell constantly. Sous chefs looking aghast is optional. For a really authentic experience, see if you can find people who wear matching outfits and swear at you while screaming out numbers randomly.

                  Then follow Antilope's version above. I like keeping some things "special" and risotto is one of those things. So I only make it when I have really good stock on hand, and just need some. I make it on days that I feel calm and can enjoy a glass of wine while cooking. Wow, that sounds like I have "risotto therapy" sessions! Doesn't cost much and I don't have to leave the house.

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: smtucker

                    We can have Ramsay come to your house and go through your fridge saying, "Oh my God! You're going to kill someone!" as he re-writes your recipes and menus. ;-)

                    1. re: smtucker

                      +1 on smtucker's "risotto therapy" sessions. I rarely order risotto at a restaurant, because it's one of the few dishes I believe I make better and more consistently. I see making risotto as a therapy session, complete with favorite risotto making pot and favorite risotto stirring spoon. As well as risotto making glass(es) of wine....

                      As for timing, I cook my risotto at just a simmer (barely), lower in heat than most folks. I go through a bit more stock than the main recipe calls for, and it takes a bit longer and a little more stirring. I think that manages to get a little more starch out of the grains, so the final product is a little creamier, but not because of added liquids to make it soupier. The grains are still just-on-this-side of al dente, but the liquid surrounding the grains is creamy. It's not firm, but not runny either. When ladled, it will spread a bit, but still remain a mound.

                      Restaurant risottos that I've had (with very few exceptions) tend to be firmer, less creamy. I think those grains have a lot more starch to give, but the method used simply doesn't give enough time to extract that starch to contribute to the creaminess.

                      Just my thoughts, YMMV.

                      1. re: foreverhungry

                        +2. I have yet to eat restaurant risotto that is as creamy as homemade. Plus making risotto is relaxing, especially when you're drinking a glass of wine

                        1. re: wanker

                          In the summer, my secret to making risotto is using an electric frying pan so I can stand in front of the fan and stay cool at the same time. My gas burner can't take that much wind and puts out heat I just don't need. And I believe it is not worth taking the time to make risotto without homemade stock.

                          1. re: wanker

                            My favorite way to do any kind of cooking is with a glass of wine in hand!

                            My recipe uses a splash of wine to deglaze the pan after sauteeing some onions and the rice, and since I don't tend to drink or use white wine for much else, I take that excuse to "finish off the bottle before it goes bad." I'm so careful about not letting food get funky in the fridge! ;)

                            I have never had risotto while out, so I can't compare mine to others'.

                            1. re: LaureltQ

                              Bravo! I have done the same. Guilty pleasure.

                            2. re: wanker

                              I find that restaurant risotto is way too rich for me. I know for sure they add a tonne of butter (and many add cream, even though you're really not supposed to) and I don't really like the flavour/texture. At home, it's a light but still comforting dish.

                        2. Liberally infuse it with insults and f-bombs.