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Best pan/pot for rissoto?

  • h

Hi all, I just moved into my first apartment and need to learn to cook ASAP or else I will have to suffer many nights of Taco Bell. Anyways, I love risotto and plan to try plenty of recipes I have found online.

However, I'm not exactly sure what pan or pot is best to make it. As of now, the only pan I have is a 8.6" Mauviel M'heritage 150c that I impulsively bought on looks alone.

Thanks for your suggestions!

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  1. That pan will be just fine for risotto. If you are looking to buy a second pot that will also have multiple uses you might want to consider a heavy Dutch oven style. I consider Le Crueset the best, but there are other less expensive choices out there. And if you are frugal, you can often find great cookware at 2nd hand stores. That's where I bought my last food processor, coffee maker and 14" frying pan--all for about 25% of retail/new price.

    6 Replies
    1. re: escondido123

      Unless I am mistaken, the pan he is referring to is a frying pan. Do you make risotto in a fry pan?

      1. re: jljohn

        Yes, I do sometimes. In fact my favorite pan for risotto is an old electric frying pan. That way I can put it on the counter facing my guests at the nearby table and be part of the conversation while stirring the risotto. (Bought that pan for $3 at a 2nd hand store.)

        1. re: escondido123

          That's cool. I may have to try it sometime. I would think you'd need a lot more liquid as so much would evaporate off given the high surface area. Do you find that to be the case?

          1. re: jljohn

            I've never really noticed either way. I just keep adding stock in small amounts, stirring until gone and adding more until it is done enough.

            1. re: jljohn

              You do have to find the right level of heat to keep that from happening, but I've never had much of an issue. I add my stock in three batches, ala Alton Brown and it works really well. You don't have to make such a fuss over it that way either.

              1. re: sisterfunkhaus

                I have a one cup ladle so I add broth one ladle at a time and don't add more until it is close to dry. Works for me.

      2. Super short answer: buy this at the 'try me' price: http://www.copperpans.com/falktrymepi...

        Longer answer: So many factors go into this that it will be hard to answer you well without more criteria. Price point? How many are you cooking for? etc. But let me give it a go.

        Your money will go a long way buying tri-ply (stainless-aluminum-stainless), and you can find may pieces at places like TJ Maxx. For example, I've noticed lately that a lot of Calphalon tri-ply is being cleared out at TJ Maxx/Home Goods/Marshalls, and I've seen the 3 Qt Saucier with a lid for about $30, which would be a very nice rissotto pan. In the tri-ply arena, your can go with the Tramontina (at Wal-Mart), Calphalon, All-Clad, or any number of others. They will all have similar performance characteristics, within the larger spectrum.

        However, by the fact that you bought a Mauviel Copper pan, I infer a willingness to spend the money on copper cookware, so you may want to assess what pans you really will use a lot and invest in top quality, copper, cookware. Only you can make that decision. Since you know you like and want to make rissoto, a very versatile pan is a Sauciere, and Falk happens to offer their 1.5 Quart Saucier as a try-me. It would be a nice size for one or two people. You might consider investing in that pan, and going from there. If it doesn't work out, you'll get most of your money back out of it on resale.

        Best of luck!

        Jeremy

        5 Replies
        1. re: jljohn

          Thank you for the responses, friends. As far as price point. I'd say under $100 per pan/pot. I may throw that Falk saucier on my Christmas list lol. For now, only planning to feed myself and occasionally my girlfriend. I bought the Mauviel based on looks alone, just though it looked cool and it was on sale. I figure it would become my personal pan for my use only. When I looked at bigger sizes, I realized this may be the only copper pan I'll have for a while lol.

          I'll definitely stop by TJ Max on the way home and see what's available, thanks for the tip.

          So as far as this Mauviel pan and it not being something for risotto, what can I cook with it?

          1. re: hymas

            But the pan is fine for risotto, especially for just a few people.

            1. re: hymas

              An 8.5" frying pan? Well, I'd use it for eggs, omelettes, grilled cheese, any small frying or sauteing jobs, toasting nuts, any small roasting jobs in the oven, etc.

            2. re: jljohn

              I guess another thing I might add, is that when watching videos of folks preparing risotto, they're using all variety of pans. Stainless steal, nonstick, or something that looks like enameled cast iron. Do these really make a difference in how the risotto will turn out? Is one superior or perhaps, inferior, to the other? Thanks again.

              1. re: hymas

                I've made risotto in just about every kind of pot/pan imaginable. They all work, just don't use a cheap, crappy, thin pan and you'll do fine.

            3. I make risotto often and have used various pans including a large stainless steel frying pan, Le Crueset and a saucier. In a pinch I've used a large pot but would recommend any of the three above.

              1. I use a Le Cruset braising pan for my rissotto. I find that the size and depth are perfect for keeping the stock from evaporating too much, but it allows some steam to come off the pan. I find I don't have to stir it every second, because it doesn't stick too quickly. I've never had a bad batch from that pan, while I have had ruined batches with my Staub chicken roasting pot. It's simply too deep and the arborio just kind of sits in the liquid and after 45 minutes, it's still swimming in stock and wine.

                I do want to share my favorite new combo. I make it with chicken stock and white wine, lots of roasted butternut squash, bacon, parmesan, half of a stick of browned butter, and a smidge of herbes de Provence. It's insanely good.

                1. Putting in my two cents.

                  Any pot or pan is OK for making risotto as long as it is deep enough and the sides aren't so sloped that the rice and liquid slop over onto the stove. A skillet such as you have is pretty shallow, but if you aren't making a lot, and don't stir too vigorously, it could serve. Other options would include a sauciere or a dutch oven as already suggested; a saute pan; or just a large saucepan. You'll certainly need a saucepan as you get more into cooking, and maybe this is the time to get one.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: John Francis

                    Thinking about it some more, maybe a saucepan is best for risotto. The wider the pan, the more it encourages evaporation - but you don't want the liquid in risotto to evaporate, you want it absorbed by the rice. A saucepan has a narrower diameter than a skillet, sauté pan, saucier, or Dutch oven, compensated for with higher sides; Q.E.D.

                    This is theoretical - since I've only made risotto in a large saucepan, never in any of the other cookware, I don't know if there's any advantage to using anything else.

                    1. re: twyst

                      Don't joke, people won't get it.

                      That would be DANGEROUS. My pressure cooker's instruction book explicitly warns against rice because the foam might clog the regulator.

                      1. re: Dave_in_PA

                        Dave, I make risotto in my pressure cooker all the time with no problem, as do thousands of home cooks worldwide (to judge from the proliferation of pressure-cooker risotto recipes in cookbooks and online). My PC happens to be the modern spring-valve type, but I'm sure it can be done in the removable-weight type as long as proper precautions, including fill level, are observed. Purists may quibble, but for one Italian cook's endorsement of this method, see: http://www.hippressurecooking.com/201...

                        1. re: Dave_in_PA

                          "Don't joke, people won't get it."

                          Im not joking, cooking risotto in a pressure cooker is a technique that is really catching on. Perfect risotto in 7 minutes? Yes please.

                          1. re: Dave_in_PA

                            << My pressure cooker's instruction book explicitly warns against rice because the foam might clog the regulator.<<

                            Maybe that's what made my mother's pressure cooker explode. She made this substance she called "casserole" in it, which had a lot of rice in it, and one time, it ended up decorating our kitchen ceiling.

                        2. A heavy pot with good heat conduction (aluminum or stainless with a aluminum bottom), helps prevent scorching.

                          and a nonstick finish to make cleanup easy.