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I've prepared risotto from scratch a handful of times in the last few months. While I've been happy with the flavor, the texture left a little something to be desired.

In specific, it tasted like it was undercooked even though I ended up cooking the rice well past the time called for in the recipe. Any thoughts on what could be causing this?

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What type of rice are you using? (Arborio, Carnaroli, ...) How much are you stirring? Are you keeping it at a simmer? – Michael at Herbivoracious Aug 31 '10 at 2:54

4 Answers 4

Time has nothing to do with cooking risotto -- you cook it 'til it stops absorbing liquid. I don't even cook by amount of liquid added, as it's more a cook-it-until-it's-done type recipe. When the rice stops aborbing liquid well, it's generally done, but an occassional check for texture never hurts.

Type of rice will affect things, as will elevation from sea level, temperature of the cooking vessel, and surface area of the cooking vessel.

See :

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Altitude could be a problem. Rice will take longer to cook at higher altitudes.

My suggestion is to continue cooking and adding broth until the rice is at the texture you desire. Taste often.

If you want to make the cook time shorter, you can par-boil the rice. Here is a link that explains how that is done.

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The biggest mistake I see when people make risotto is they add way too much liquid. If you add too much liquid most of it evaporates than gets absorbed by the grain.

While risotto is a "cook it until it's done" recipe as @Joe stated, there are some "rules":

  1. 1/2 cup of stock per session and never stop stirring
  2. At about the 20 minute mark, with Arborio, it should be close to done, I usually start tasting at about the 15-18 minute mark
  3. The right heat, as with most cooking, is paramount to a good outcome, you want a slow and steady simmer on when liquid is the pan
  4. It is time to add more liquid when there is none in the sautee pan

Without more details as type of rice, process, or whether you are strictly adhering to a recipe, it is a bit difficult to give you the best advice.

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If you're not starting by cooking the rice in butter (and otherwise dry), that could be your problem. If you already are . . . try cooking it a bit longer before adding the liquid. This helps get the rice cooking earlier and helps it absorb enough liquid.

Also note that risotto is supposed to keep a bit of an "al dente" feel to it. If you cook it to mush, it's overdone.

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