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Feb 1, 2013 07:58 AM

Risotto: Home Cooking Dish of the month (February 2013)

This month we will be cooking Risotto.

It was a tight race, but risotto edged out the competition. If you'd like to view the voting thread, click here:

As usual, you are invited to use published recipes, old favorites, or a recipe you've invented. Please describe your recipe, and your outcome. Photos are always encouraged. Please remember to paraphrase any recipes that are not your own; verbatim copying of recipes to the boards is a violation of the copyright of the original author. Posts with copied recipes will be removed.

Marcella Hazan talks about insaporire being what one does to draw out and develop the flavor of several ingredients. Speaking of risotto, she says:

"The guiding principle of insaporire is to cause an ingredient to bond its flavor to that of another and thus expand both."

A romantic notion, and a romantic dish, for the month of valentines.

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  1. awesome. I hope to really participate in this month's dish! i like the idea of this one:

    although i don't particularly like the picture - the risotto doesn't look creamy enough, to me....

    this looks great too:

    but again, the pic! i just think risotto should be more ... spready... don't you think?

    more like this?

    oooh, doesn't this look lovely? reminds me of you, LN:

    so many possibilities!

    22 Replies
    1. re: mariacarmen

      I think that all of the risottos pictured are a little on the dry side. IMO, risotto should be just runny enough that you have to serve it in a bowl, not on a plate, but not so runny that you can't eat it with a fork. (I don't always hit that nail squarely on the head.)

      1. re: pikawicca

        That's an interesting point. I've ordered risotto in a restaurant and gotten both loose versions and dryer versions. My own preference at home is always something slight thicker, not dry by any means, but something that could be served in a bowl or on a plate (I serve in a bowl usually). I'm sure there is an "authentic" way, but personal preference is important also.

        1. re: delys77

          It depends on the region in Italy. In the Veneto, they serve it loose; it is called "all’onda," "on the wave." In other regions they serve it thicker. It's all personal preference and no way is "correct" or "incorrect."

          1. re: ttoommyy

            tt, is the amount of liquid used the only contributing factor for loose or thick risotto? Or do other ingredients such as moisture for an add in make the difference?

            1. re: HillJ

              I can only answer from my own experience. I think it is moslty the amount of liquid (broth or water) used. Of course add-ins that retain their own moisture will add to it. Then of course there is the mantecare step after the risotto is done cooking in which you mix butter and grated cheese into the risotto which not only adds a creaminess but also absorbs some of the moisture.

            2. re: ttoommyy

              That is good to know. Not that I am a stickler for authenticity, but I always like to at least try the most authentic approach at least once. In this case no need to worry.

              1. re: ttoommyy

                it's a matter of preference. i had it homemade in northern Italy and it was looser than those pics. either way, it's still delicious.

            3. re: pikawicca

              i agree with you, i like it a tad runnier than those pictured.

              1. re: mariacarmen

                I like it runnier too, but I find on the occasions that I mess things up and it gets too dry that the leftovers are easier to turn into risotto patties (I have a weakness for these on a cold winter's day).
                I'm really looking forward to the DOTM even though here in Australia it's not exactly risotto weather. There's a taleggio and cauliflower risotto that I adore despite it's pungent odour that I'll have to make. The recipe is unfortunately packed up in a box in another country but I think I can wing it. I also am keen to see if anyone has a crab risotto recipe they recommend that I can try.
                Embarrassing to admit but until I was an adult I thought risotto was something Maggi invented (a brand we have here in Australia/NZ not sure about elsewhere) . They had these awful boxes of rice with a powdered spice mix and you added some fresh peas etc. You could cook it in the microwave in about 5 mins. In my student years I ate a lot of it. Having a proper risotto was such a revelation. I love the meditative stirring and often grab a novel to read and a stool to sit on by the stove while making it.

                  1. re: Frizzle

                    Asian rice is a short grain, like Arborio. I would experiment with the ingredients available. Try using dashi and add miso as a finish, perhaps? I think you could come up with a very nice dish. Actually, I think I might have to play with this, myself.

                    1. re: Frizzle


                      This recipe for crap risotto was made for me. I loved it but it was more like a crap stew-soup than a creamy risotto. With some crusty bread..really satisfying.

                      1. re: HillJ

                        It sounds really good. Thanks!

                        1. re: HillJ

                          Before I clicked on the link I really thought you were calling the risotto "crap!" Check your typos. LOL!

                          1. re: ttoommyy

                            oh my I really was tired! LOL! CRAB CRAB CRAB!

                          2. re: HillJ

                            CRAB risotto...oh lordy HillJ!

                            1. re: HillJ

                              some in my household are focused on the Superbowl today, so I made gumbo earlier in the week and a loose risotto reminds me a lot of gumbo.

                              1. re: HillJ

                                That's totally hilarious.

                                Great looking recipe though - I think this'll be the first one I try from this thread.

                                1. re: TheCarrieWatson

                                  Yeah, I have my moments..ha!
                                  CRAB risotto is a rich meal. I wouldn't consider it a side dish, would you?

                                2. re: HillJ

                                  Oh thank you for the laugh. I thought "Crap? This I gotta see". Especially in light of it being honest food.

                                  It does look delicious. I wish I liked crab on risotto.

                                  1. re: Sal Vanilla

                                    heheheh, happy to provide the laughter!

                          3. re: mariacarmen

                            Nice choices. I guess it depends if I'm craving risotto has the main dish or a side. That first recipe with the egg on top would def. be a meal for me, whereas the mushroom version a delicious side.

                          4. I am a risotto fanatic. I will post a couple of my own recipes below. But first, this is a recipe I discovered this year and was my #1 food find on my blog for 2012. This is SERIOUSLY incredible:


                            6 Replies
                            1. re: Tom P

                              I just dropped into this thread as I was tempted by the title, having taken on learning how to cook risotto as a New Year's resolution in 2010. Imagine my delight in finding a link to a recipe for gemelli "risotto" using my favourite pasta shape! Thanks Tom P, can't wait to try it. Not to mention all the other great posts here (I also love farrotto, made one to go with the turkey at Christmas dinner). I do like carnaroli rice the best though, never fails me. I will now step back and enjoy the rest of the month... thanks all.

                              1. re: Tom P

                                Looks interesting, have you ever subbed out the carrots for another vegg? I just can't do cooked carrots, but love the idea of the dish.

                                1. re: geminigirl

                                  Grayelf, let me know if you like it! Geminigirl, understood. Though I have served it to people who said the same and they went nuts for it. I would imagine you could use any root veggie?

                                  1. re: Tom P

                                    Tried it last night, Tom P, and it turned out well. Cooking time is rather less than for a "regular" risotto which is a plus. I only needed 6 cups of stock rather than the suggested 8. Also found it a bit on the mild side, so maybe will up the onion quotient next time to a large one. Finally, I found that the texture of the sauce that results from the starch on the pasta was less creamy and a bit more glutinous than the same when I use carnaroli in my usual recipes.

                                    1. re: grayelf

                                      Glad it was all right, though it didn't sound like it blew you away as it did me. It is indeed mild. The sweet creaminess of it is what gets me. And I throw in a lot of butter and cheese, too :)

                                      1. re: Tom P

                                        One of my DCs commented on the sweetness of the carrots for sure. I did end up adding more butter and LOTS more parmesan than called for, plus freshly grated on the top, which added more zip. Maybe my taste buds are just flamed out :-). Really liked trying a different style of risotto (pastasotto??) so thanks again for posting.

                              2. WINTER GREENS RISOTTO

                                Over the years I have become more and more addicted to a variety of things… perhaps none so much, separately, as risotto and sautéed greens. For a few years I have been making a terrific pasta tossed with greens. Then I tried a risotto with sautéed greens that turned out just as good, if not better. Recipe of sorts below.

                                A sidenote is that I love all kinds of greens. You can cook them solo, or combine them. Beet greens have become some of my favorite. But anything works.

                                I like a wild and wonderful mixture of greens: chard (whatever color), kale (whatever color), beet greens, dandelion greens and/or Italian parsley leaves. You could add or substitute anything: spinach, mustard greens, collards, whatever.

                                In one pot make a simple risotto:

                                sauté chopped onion (I often add a little chopped fennel), then add the Arborio rice. Saute 3 minutes.

                                Add a few glugs of white wine. When the wine had cooked down, start adding warm chicken broth. Cook as you would any risotto, stirring and adding broth, until the rice has just a tiny bit of bite left and the mixture is thickening. It is time to add the final ingredients.

                                At the same time, in olive oil and garlic, sauté the greens, torn into relatively bite sixed pieces, adding greens to the pot as need be. As they cook, add more olive oil as needed, and white wine or chicken broth, then a touch of balsamic vinegar, all for flavor.

                                When the risotto is almost done, add butter, parmesan cheese, and the greens. Cover and let rest a few minutes.

                                This is really good.

                                11 Replies
                                1. re: Tom P

                                  Tom P you sound like a CH that knows their risotto! Your recipe is right up my alley and I'm wondering if you have leftovers have your ever made arancini with this paticular risotto? This recipe has me thinking it might be a contender.

                                  1. re: HillJ

                                    Oh, wow. I never thought of that and now must try it! That sounds wonderful, I think this particular risotto would be terrific as arancini.

                                  2. re: Tom P

                                    How much Arborio rice are you using for this recipe? I can see your a "by feel" recipe writer :)

                                    1. re: HillJ

                                      I usually do 1 1/2 cups of rice for serving 4. With 6 cups broth. One note on broth: I make homemade broth so often I have a hard time using store bought anymore. And veggie broth is so quick and easy, sometimes I just throw a few broth veggies in a pot (onion, carrot, celery, anything else I might have) with water, bring it to a boil, then as it simmers, use this for the heated broth for the risotto. Very fresh, works great and much better than store bough.

                                      1. re: Tom P

                                        Good idea, I would like to make some tonight, bit, I don't think I have broth. But, I have veggies, so I think I'll toss some in a slowcooker, then it can be ready for me later today. I work this afternoon.

                                        1. re: wyogal

                                          Wyogai, in a pinch, you can throw any veggies you might have... carrot, onion, celery... in a pot with water, bring it to a boil then simmer while you do your prep for everything else. I've made quick veggie broth that way in 15 minutes that works fine. Let me know what you think when you try this!

                                          1. re: Tom P

                                            That's what I did, I put the leftover crudites from Super Bowl (celery, carrot, green onion, yellow pepper) in a saute pan, got a bit of color on them, then put them in the slow cooker for the afternoon while I was at work. It was yummy. I added a bit of peppercorn, yellow onion, a bay leaf, and 3 cloves as well.

                                            1. re: wyogal

                                              I love a few cloves in my homemade broths as well!

                                              1. re: Tom P

                                                It adds a subtle depth, doesn't it? :)

                                    2. re: Tom P

                                      that sounds really wonderful. thanks for posting it.

                                      1. re: Tom P

                                        i like winter greens with red beans risotto.

                                      2. Risotto is a standby in our house. Lately we've been doing a lot of pumpkin/winter squash risotto, cooking the pumpkin separately with some onions and (usually) a little nutmeg and a splash of wine or vermouth, then pureeing and stirring the puree into the near-finished risotto. We've also been having a lot of mushroom risotto, combining fresh mushrooms (usually just white button mushrooms), sauteed (often with thyme), and porcini (with their soaking liquor added to the broth). Can't wait to see what others do! One of the tastiest risottos I ever had was a savory strawberry one in Florence over ten years ago; I'd be curious to hear if anyone has ever given that a go!

                                        8 Replies
                                        1. re: Memorando

                                          We have and we love squash risotto! I've seen pumpkin/winter squash risotto on a several restaurant menus recently.

                                          1. re: HillJ

                                            Oddly enough, I'm not a huge fan of squash risotto, even though I love both elements separately. It feels too starchy to me. Give me mushroom or greens any day.

                                            1. re: piccola

                                              Risotto is pretty starchy to begin with. I find it's the texture that can be hit or miss more than the flavor choices. I don't care for a toothy risotto.

                                                1. re: HillJ

                                                  I think it's because risotto is already starchy that I stay away from starchy add-ins -- just like I tend to avoid adding squash and starchy veg to pasta. It's just a personal preference, not an overall rule.

                                                  But I hear what you're saying about texture. Just like some people prefer it runnier vs. thicker. That's why it's always better to make it at home -- you can make it just the way you like!

                                            2. re: Memorando

                                              There's a kabocha squash risotto in "Sunday Suppers at Lucques" that I adore. I reported on it here ( ) when "Sunday Suppers" was first Cookbook of the Month.

                                              1. re: Memorando

                                                The savory strawberry risotto is one of my favorite, we always used to make it with prosecco wine and strawberries.

                                                Very simple but the balance between the wine and the strawberries is crucial because it's pretty easy to end up with a sweet mess...

                                                I usually start with the usual onion/shallots soffritto, rice in, 1 minute to tast the rice, a glass of prosecco in and let it dry.
                                                Then I start with the broth and half way through I put half of the strawberries in and more prosecco. Towards the end the remaining strawberries and some more prosecco if it is too sweet.
                                                Let it cool down (mantecare) with butter, a little bit of Parmesan cheese and black pepper.

                                                1. re: alepenazzi

                                                  That sounds wonderful. I must try this sometime. Thanks.


                                                I've been hanging on to this link for a bit and making my way through the top 10 very slowly; they all appeal to me. Especially the recipe that uses farro in place of Arborio and infusers like lemon & mint, tomato & ricotta. I'm going to start with the farro risotto recipe because I have a lb. on hand.

                                                Risotto cakes with eggs sounds very appealing too!

                                                9 Replies
                                                1. re: HillJ

                                                  Thanks for the link! I added some of those to Pepperplate :)

                                                  1. re: mandymoo

                                                    You are very welcome. If you try any from the list out I hope you will review your results here.

                                                  2. re: HillJ

                                                    Wow, thanks...some new and great ones there

                                                    1. re: HillJ

                                                      I made a decent farro risotto a few months back, I ell have to dig that recipe out and share it, it was a keeper....

                                                        1. re: HillJ

                                                          Try this farro with artichoke &herb salad. The farro is cooked like a risotto, and it turns out delicious. I've served it even without the salad and it's a great side to any roast or with grilled meat. I'm making it again this week.


                                                          1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                            Thanks Dirtywex, that looks right up my alley!

                                                      1. re: HillJ

                                                        I've never made risotto cakes before but have always kind of wanted to - can't wait to try those out. I will definitely be making that, ahem, craB risotto you put up earlier, and I'd imagine the leftovers would be a wonderful candidate for risotto cakes later. Thanks for posting!

                                                        1. re: TheCarrieWatson

                                                          happy to contribute. all this risotto speak has my husband raising the bar on dinner this month!