The first time I tasted risotto was actually in Japan! Funny, huh? I’ve been obsessed ever since. I LOVE a good Risotto, but making them scared me. But the truth is Risotto isn’t hard, it’s just time consuming and you need to be a little flexible.
So before you attempt any recipe that has lots of steps be sure to 1. read the entire recipe and 2. collect all the ingredients. Since you’ll be stirring pretty much constantly the whole time you won’t be able to leave to collect ingredients you might be missing, having them all measured out before hand will be a huge help for you as you work. For Risotto you also need to make sure you have the right rice, traditional rice won’t cook up the same and won’t work, my favorite risotto rice is Arborio rice.
Risotto is made by cooking the rice in stock (I like to use Swansons chicken stock, but you can use any stock flavor) to a creamy consistency. You’ll use more of less depending on your altitude and cooking time so I always have extra in case I need to use more than I expect. Risotto’s start with a onions cooked in butter or olive oil, then toasting the rice to heat it up, then adding wine and cooking it until it’s all absorbed. Now comes adding the stock. You want the stock warm while you add it, just a little at a time and cooking it down, stirring to keep the rice all evenly heated.
Stirring not only evenly heats the rice but more importantly it loosens the starch from the outside of the rice grains into the liquid, creating Risotto’s smooth creamy-texture. At that point it is taken off the heat for a rest, then diced cold butter is vigorously stirred in to make the texture as creamy and smooth as possible.
- 8 C Stock
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 3 tsp garlic
- 2 C Arborio rice
- 1 C white wine
- 1 C pumpkin purée store bought or homemade
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 6 Tbsp cold butter cubed
- Pour the stock into a saucepan and keep it hot over low heat.
- Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat.
- Stir in the onion and cook stirring occasionally, until softened, about 4 minutes.
- Stir in the rice and garlic and continue stirring until the grains are coated with oil and the edges become translucent, 1 to 2 minutes.
- Pour in the wine and let it boil, stirring the rice, until evaporated.
- Ladle enough of the hot stock into the pan to barely cover the rice.
- Bring to a boil, then lower the heat so the stock is at a simmer.
- Cook, stirring constantly until all the stock has been absorbed.
- Continue cooking, pouring in the remaining hot stock in small batches and cook until each batch of stock has been absorbed.
- Stir constantly until the rice mixture is creamy, 16 to 20 minutes.
- Add pumpkin, cinnamon and nutmeg and simmer until heated through.
- Remove the pan from the heat and cover, let it sit for 5-10 mins to finish cooking
- Stir in the butter until completely melted.
You want to serve RIGHT away, as the rice continues to cook and it could quickly go too soft. This is not a dish you can make ahead of time and it doesn’t reheat well. Your finished risotto should be loose, and not mushy. The Rice should be slightly al dente so the individual grains are still there.
So Risotto isn’t hard but it does take time and patience and testing while you cook, The first time you try it I would do it by itself to see how long it takes in your kitchen. The end result is SO worth it, creamy and filling and oh so good! You can mix in pretty much anything and add any flavors, as long as you have the basic’s down. Try it with different Stocks and different veggies (you can add longer cooking vegetables with the onions, but softer vegetables like peas or asparagus that cook quickly add towards the end)
So do you have a love affair with Risotto like I do? What is the best risotto you’ve ever had? Personally my favorite is always a Parmesan Risotto, but it’s fun to experiment with different flavors like this pumpkin one! My husband loved it, the kids not so much. I enjoyed it as a side, but by itself it wasn’t quite enough for me.
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