There's few out there who wouldn't praise the taste of risotto, which has turned into an icon of Italian cuisine. There's countless recipes for its preparation but before you get cooking, it's important to know about the secrets to its proper preparation:
1. When preparing risotto, it's best to use Italian varieties of rice and never long-grain. You'll find a wide range of rice varieties in stores but if by chance you can't find Italian ones, go for the varieties with a round shape that aren't as large.
2. The most important rule when cooking risotto is that the broth in which you'll be sauteing the rice needs to be poured in gradually, not all at once. In many recipes, after the rice is braised, they add white wine and only then start pouring in the broth.
3. When pouring in broth to the risotto, make sure that you've prepared enough of it because if you're using Italian rice, the ratio between rice and liquid needs to be 1:3. Pour in the broth only after the grains have absorbed the previous liquid well.
4. Don't allow yourself to stir the rice often. Do this only if you're worried about it starting to burn and be sure to use a wooden spatula, so you don't damage the integrity of the grains.
5. Always braise risotto in olive oil or butter, never in oil. Don't skimp on the fat because the rice needs to gain its characteristic glassy color during braising. Only then begin pouring in additional liquid, whether you're going to be using wine or not.
6. Always serve risotto warm. Otherwise, it'll start to look like a mush and all of your efforts for its preparation will have been in vain.
7. No matter what kind of ingredients you add to the risotto, it's good to prepare them separately so that you can focus your full attention on sauteing the rice. You have to be by the stove for about 18-20 min. This is the approximate time it'll take for the risotto to cook.
8. You can use meat, vegetable, mushroom or fish broth for the risotto, choosing the right one based on whatever other ingredients you intend to add. But it's recommended that the broth be homemade, not store-bought.
9. Once the risotto is completely ready, sprinkle it with parmesan - this is a must.
Also be sure check out our ideas for an irresistible risotto: risotto with boletus and parmesan, risotto with tomatoes, risotto with four cheeses, risotto with quinoa and mushrooms.