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Risotto: Must I use wine in a risotto?

Can I just use stock and seasonings in my risotto, or is there some magic to adding wine? I don't happen to have a dry white wine in the house and really don't want to go out and buy a bottle. If it makes any difference, I'm making a vegetarian mushroom risotto.

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  1. Of course not. It's nice to add the wine but there's no law that says it must be in there nor does the flavor suffer from its absence.

    1 Reply
    1. re: ferret

      Thanks. Exactly what I was thinking but then started to doubt myself after looking at recipes online and not seeing any sans wine.

    2. No need to use the wine, lots of recipes don't. Curious to know how you're dealing with a mushrooms--how are you cooking them and incorporating them into the dish?

      4 Replies
      1. re: escondido123

        I will saute them prior and add them at the end, along with the butter, parm and fresh herbs.

        1. re: laurachow

          I asked because I find the flavor of the mushrooms to be most intense in the risotto if they are well browned first. Then I deglaze the pan they were cooked in and add that to the risotto to amp up the mushroom taste.

          1. re: escondido123

            I always just do them first in the same pan. Get them nice and brown in the pan in butter/OO and aromatics, then the rice, then wine (obviously optional in this case), then the rest of the process. Why bother with a second pan? You can't really overcook mushrooms and the flavor only gets more intense as they get firmer.

            1. re: acgold7

              Just a time saver for me. I get the risotto started in one pan, the mushrooms in another and then add them once browned. The risotto has already cooked for ten minutes so 'm done a little sooner.

      2. Wine can make a positive difference in some recipes, because certain flavor compounds are more readily soluble in alcohol than in fat or water. But the difference is very unlikely to be dramatic, and you can still have great risotto without it.

        1. I have never used wine in my risotto -- stock only.

          1. How about adding a dry RED wine? Sounds perfect for mushroom risotto.

            4 Replies
            1. re: linguafood

              If you don't mind purple risotto.

              1. re: acgold7

                Purple risotto? Dice some raw peeled beetroot and simmer in water/stock/red wine for about 30 minutes. Use this liquid and diced beet to make risotto. You cannot get any purpler (is that a word?). It looks stunning and goes really well with cold meats and salad. The only downside is that your next bathroom visit may make you worry about kidney failure, when it's just a coloration issue!

                  1. re: acgold7

                    Why would I, or anyone? Sounds & looks pretty, not to mention awesomely tasty.