I'm a fan of Italian mushroom risotto and I love to cook it from time to time, but cooking the arborio rice well seems impossible to me if I follow traditional recipes. Last time I pre-cooked the rice in water before boiling it in cooking wine but this didn't seem to help. No matter for how long I boil it, I end up with very hard rice at the end. Does anyone know the best way to cook risotto to avoid this?
I love risotto. A few things might help.
- Use a saucepan, not a skillet. I had never really noticed a difference until ElendilTheTall (another user here) pointed it out. It makes a big difference. So you should have 2 sauce pans on the stove, one for your simmering broth, one for the rice.
- Brown your aromatics and your mushrooms well in butter and oil and include your dry rice. The rice should get quite translucent before you add wine to the pan. The wine should sizzle and boil dramatically.
- The old idea that you need to stir constantly is silly. Add your broth a big ladleful at a time (you can add larger amounts of broth for the first couple of additions), keep the heat high enough that it maintains a low boil and keep an eye on it, stirring occasionally. Add more broth well before the rice seems dry.
- Each batch will vary regarding exactly how long it will take and how much broth it will need, so be prepared for today's batch to take longer and need more broth that last week's batch, even if everything seems the same. But shouldn't take more than about a half an hour as long as you've kept it at a low boil (high simmer?) and haven't let it dry out.
That's it. Add Parmesan when the rice is done, and true arborio is worth it.
EDIT: Oh and BTW, cooking wine is nasty. Use real wine, your rice may just be insulted by "cooking wine". For "cooking wine" they add huge amounts of salt to bad wine to make it undrinkable, so that they can legally put it on grocery store shelves and sell it to minors.