Saturday, May 21, 2011

Risotto - To Stir or Not to Stir

Risotto ai funghi

This has been asked a lot from me lately. “Do you stir your risotto or do you leave it?” At first I was thinking, typical Australians what do they know… Only to discover that is what someone said on TV telling the contestants that you never stir risotto…. Oh boy wait until I tell my husband that one!! Anyway of course I got the reaction I was expecting from my adorable “wog” husband, not sure if I can repeat.

So I decided to do a further research into this – by asking Italians, as I was taught by my mother-in-law, brother-in-law, husband, the chef I worked with in Italy and all the other Italians that I know in Italy that they all stir. However as things can change from region to region in Italy, that some of the northern Italians (particularly the chefs) don’t stir but flip the rice over and over in the pan, this process is called all’onda (the wave), which is a bit like stirring it anyway. BUT one thing seems to be missing from all of this, that it seems it doesn’t matter if you stir or not (or the wave), that there is ONE thing that all italians agree on, is the most important part of risotto making is the “TOSTATURA”.

What is “tostatura”? Well it is exactly what it sounds like, “toasting”, when you add the rice to the pan, you should make sure the rice is toasted (this does NOT mean to brown) before adding the alcohol or stock. Making sure that the rice has been well stirred and well coated in the butter mixture and that the grains then start to become “brilliant looking” – this is the “tostature”. Then finish your risotto your way, to stir or not to stir, gluggy or creamy, runny or stiff, al dente or soggy.

Enjoy making your next risotto. Alla prossima.

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