When discovering risotto, one needs to go to the source when rice was introduced to Sicily and Spain in the 14th century by the Arab people. There is this legend that states that a church sponsored stain glass colourist was pranked by an assistant in September 1574 when he added a pinch of saffron to his maestro’s risotto and there by defining the recipe risotto alla Milanese was born.
Risotto is not just a recipe its literally part of Italy’s national heritage and an important export commodity. The country produces around 1.3 million tons of rice each year, over 50% exported to other European countries.
The rice is an Italian variety of superfine rice, one of the largest amongst the short Italian rice varieties in the species Oryza sativa japonica. Named after the community of Arborio in the northwest Italian region of Piedmont, this rice is especially high in amylopectin starch. The rice undergoes less milling than ordinary long grain rice, and retains much of its natural starch content. Resulting in firmer, chewier rice and this gives the risotto dish its creamy texture.
Risotto today is sometimes defined as the death dish, as it’s not an easy dish to create, hard to cook let alone perfect a one pot wonder which should have the consistency of cream and is meant to melt in your mouth instead of becoming mush. It is normally served before the main course in Italy, but can of course be served as a main course.
When trying this at home, get all the ingredients ready. The trick is the broth which can be derived from meat, fish or veggies. Risotto may include butter, onion, and white wine as well as world famous parmigiana-reggiano cheese and complete the recipe with saffron.
Head culinary artist Wesley Kurt Peters knows just how to create the perfect risotto and below is latest edition to the Eaves menu is Peters secret recipe, one you will definitely want to try at Granny Mouse Country House & Spa.
Mushroom risotto – yield 4 portions
• 300g Arborio rice
• 150g button mushrooms
• 100g portabellini mushrooms
• 100 ml dry white wine
• 30g parmesan grated
• 1lt vegetable or chicken stock
• 10g fresh garlic crushed
• 30g onions finely diced
• 1 sprig of thyme fresh
• 100ml cream
• 20g butter
• salt and pepper to taste
• mix butter and oil in a sauce pan and heat on medium heat
• add onions and sauté until translucent
• add mushrooms and garlic
• sauté until mushrooms are soft
• add uncooked aborio
• sauté for 5 mins stirring continuously and rice must not brown
• add wine and cook until all liquid is absorbed
• now add one ladle at a time of stock until it is fully absorbed and
rice is al dente (firm to the bite)
• now add cream and parmesan and season
• once rice is cooked serve immediately
• please remember, you cannot walk away from cooking risotto , do not
add all the liquid at one time or you will have a horrible end result.
Keep in mind, Risotto also has a reputation for being fussy and time-consuming. It’s true that once you start cooking, it does require a fair amount of attention, but it doesn’t take more than 30 minutes to make.
In fact, true Italian cooks will tell you that risotto should take no more than 18 to 19 minutes from start to finish.
So, put on the apron, roll up those sleeves and before you know it, you‘ll master this Italian classic in no time!