risotto

I've been exploring--very slowly--the art and science of cooking and baking for about 10 years now. I've been in no hurry and my progress has been hampered a number of times by substandard living conditions. I'm a wimpy cook, you see. If I'm living with a bad kitchen then it's straight to the microwave for me. But the house I've owned (actually the bank owns most of it) for the past 4 years has a very nice kitchen so I've been making more progress of late.

Still, many of the classic dishes I've not even attempted. One of these is risotto. It's difficult to watch Food Network for any amount of time at all without coming across this dish, yet I've never tried to prepare it. Many people don't like to prepare the dish due to the half hour of constant stirring that it requires--and that also explains why a "simple" rice dish is what often hurts the winning chances of contestants on cooking contests--but I actually like dishes like that. One of my favorite recipes I acquired from Janis, a former girlfriend, and it starts out with a roux which needs the same 30 minutes of frequent stirring as you add more items to the pot. I think I can handle risotto--so that's my next cooking hurdle.

Actually I had meant to make it earlier this week but the stores I've gone in so far---Food Lion and Wal-mart--didn't carry Italian Rice of any kind nor even medium or short grained rice of any origin. Am I over using the word "any"? That sounded a mite repetitious. In any (damn, I did it again!) case, I'm going to have to go more upscale to find my rice. Harris Teeter, perhaps, or A Southern Season if all else fails.

Risotto is an interesting dish due to the creaminess of the resulting rice. You see, there's no actual cream added to the dish. The creamy taste is due to the nature of the rice (medium grain giving up starch easier) and the manner of cooking. And that's why I want to give the dish a try--if I can get my hands on some arborio rice, that is. Harold McGee has a sidebar on this topic in his classic text, On Food and Cooking, titled Risotto: Turning Rice into Its Own Sauce. It's on page 475 of my edition (2004).

Comments

Into the Light said…
I don't eat rice, but it does sound like a fun, magical thing to try to make. I've never heard of "Italian rice", so I'm confused there -- I wouldn't have thought you could grow rice in Italy. Hmmmmm... I do understand that you need different kinds of rice for different results though. I'd rather see a pasta dish, Dave, but I'll look for a report should you actually make the risotto. Good luck!
SassyAssy said…
I love risotto, but have only made it a handful of times. I like garlic and rosemary or lemon in mine.
GA Girl said…
It's nice to be remembered by food - does she read your blog?
kenju said…
I love risotto and the best I ever had was in San Francisco at a restaurant called Finocchio. It was GREAT! I tried to make it once, but it was not as creamy as what I've had before. You can find arborio rice at Southern Season, or Whole Foods or Fresh Market.
utenzi said…
Judy, I don't like Whole Foods but that might be where I end up getting it. I probably won't bother until next week since I think I'm going to stick close to home this weekend--and there's no stores anywhere near me.

Georgia, I suspect she'll see it sooner or later. Probably sooner, y'know?

Sassy, I like that idea. I think I'll also put one veggie in also. Maybe whipped peas to give a little more taste.

Teresa, why don't you eat rice? It's such a nice inexpensive source of carbs!
Ivy said…
Risotto is one of the dishes i'm kinda intimidated with. I'm sure i'd end up burning it becuase i'd get sidetracked by one of the kids. I'd love to give it a go though!
tummyblogger said…
You can get arborio rice at Amazon.com, though I suppose that takes out all the fun and frustration of shopping for it. This is the link.

Best,
Tummyblogger

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