Risotto is an Italian dish of rice cooked in broth to a creamy consistency. The broth may be meat-based, fish-based, or vegetable-based; many kinds include parmesan cheese, butter, and onion. It is one of the most common ways of cooking rice in Italy. Risottos are made using short-grain rice (italian cultivars of Oryza sativa japonica), with the stock being added gradually while the rice is stirred constantly. The cooking technique leads the rice to release its starch, giving the finished dish a creamy texture.
Risotto can be made using many kinds of vegetable, meat, fish, seafood and legumes, and different types of wine and cheese may be used. There is even, exceptionally, an Italian strawberry risotto.
Many variations have their own names:
- Risotto alla milanese. Made with beef stock, beef bone marrow, lard (instead of butter) and cheese, flavored and colored with saffron.
- Piedmont's risotto al Barolo is made with red wine and may include sausage meat and/or Borlotti beans.
- Black risotto or risotto al nero di seppia made with cuttlefish cooked with their ink-sacs intact, is a specialty of the Veneto region.
- Risi e Bisi or "rice and peas" is a Veneto spring dish that is correctly served with a spoon not a fork; it is a soup so thick it looks like a risotto. It is made with green peas using the stock from the fresh young pods, flavored with Pancetta.
Outside Italy, dishes made in a similar way to true risotto but with different grains or cereals are sometimes called "risotto": "farro risotto", "barley risotto".
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Making Risotto, italianfood.about.com