What is the Best Rice for Risotto?
Italian carnaroli rice is the most prized rice variety for making risotto, and you’ll see why when you make this Creamy Parmesan Risotto. Compared to its Italian cousin arborio, carnaroli is known to make creamier, more luxurious risotto. This is due to the smaller, shorter grains, which have a higher starch content and absorb liquid readily. The grains also maintain their shape and firmer texture when cooked. With carnaroli, you’ll enjoy a more toothsome risotto compared to softer arborio risotto. Give this recipe a try and see why Italians call carnaroli the “king” of rice.
How to Make Risotto
Risotto is a dish enjoyed throughout Italy, but especially in the North, where grains like rice grow readily. It’s made over a long period of time and many find the slow, gentle cooking process meditative. The best part, of course, is the creamy, cheesy, and soft porridge-like dish you finish with. The goal when making risotto is to add just enough liquid and cook the grains just long enough so that they hold their structure on the plate, without being too stiff. This phenomenon is called “al onde” in Italian, which translates as “to the wave”. If you plate a scoop of your risotto and it flows onto the plate with a small peak like a wave, you’ve done it perfectly.
The other note to make when cooking risotto is that you’ll need to season it well. The grains absorb the cooking liquid, so start building flavor from the start by using a flavorful broth and/or white wine, rather than plain water. If you only have water, be sure to season it with salt to bring out the natural flavor of the grains.
Risotto also offers a blank canvas to any of your favorite flavors. Often, as in this recipe, melty cheese is stirred in just before serving to bring the dish to life. Other recipes, such as risotto alla Milanese, infuse the rice with vibrant saffron for a beautiful golden hue and floral flavor.
This basic parmesan carnaroli risotto is the perfect side dish for your favorite braised or roasted meat for a warming and comforting home-cooked meal during chillier months.