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Feb 1, 2012 05:58 AM

Making risotto vs. fresh pasta

A coworker and I were discussing cooking for upcoming dinner parties we are respectively having. He was talking about making fresh pappardelle with a mushroom ragu and asked me for an alternative that would also use mushrooms. I suggested a porcini risotto, which I make often. He didnt seem too enthusiastic about this and later admitted to having never made a risotto. He is an accomplished home cook and really knows his food. I was surprised. Of course I had to then confess that I absolutely hate making fresh pasta.

This got me to thinking. While I know a lot of people are "afraid" of making risotto because of the constant stirring (myth) and the long cooking time (another myth) I can whip up a risotto in my sleep, so to speak. In fact, it is my go to dish when I don't know what to make and want something relatively quick. I hardly even use a recipe anymore. The thought of making fresh pasta though? I dread it and therefore have stopped making it. I find it tedious and it never really comes out as silky and tender as that which I can buy at a place that specializes in fresh pasta. I know this all depends on one's skill level and comfort zone. In reality, one is probably not that much more difficult than the other.

So, where are you on this? Camp Risotto or Camp Fresh Pasta? Maybe both? Or maybe neither?

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  1. I think risotto is easier but you can't make it in advance so timing is a problem. You can taste it as it cooks so it generally turns out fine. Pasta OTOH, I don't taste along the line. But, it can be made ahead of time and cooked last minute so that makes it easier in that respect. Good fresh pasta can be easily bought. Does that make me Camp Risotto, Camp Pasta, neither or both? FWIW, i think my risotto is better than my pasta.

    1. Mi piace risotto! E' molto semplice a preparare.

      1. i think theyre about the same level of difficulty and similar level of reward for the amount of work ya have to put in.

        i end up making pasta a little more often though, because i end up having flour, eggs, and such around more often than good risotto rice and stock

        3 Replies
        1. re: mattstolz

          I think I agree with you. I also like to get my pasta dough mixed and resting when people arrive, and then over cocktails, everyone gets to learn how to use the pasta roller and toss the pasta into nests. Since most people I know had never done it before, they really enjoy being able to contribute and get comfortable with it. Whereas risotto is somehow more formal to me. Something you keep an eye on quietly and then serve with a bit of a flourish!

          1. re: katecm

            If I'm having an informal dinner in the kitchen, I get out my electric skillet and use that to make the risotto. It allows me to stand at the island and face the table and continue to visit--if I use the stove my side is to the table and farther away.

            1. re: escondido123

              i will do something similar if i'm having people over, except ill just make it in the oven!

        2. In my house, we've divided and conquered. My husband has mastered the art of making fresh pasta. I make risotto. This is as good a reason for staying married as any other :-)

          1 Reply
          1. re: bitchincook

            I agree bitchin! My partner, who does not normally do the cooking, is the one who will make fresh pasta in our house (the rare times it is made in house).

          2. While I pretty much prefer any fresh pasta dish over any risotto, I'd say risotto is *much* less work. Making fresh pasta is freakin' involved.

            Risotto? 20 minutes and you're done.

            1 Reply