Risotto is an Italian rice dish, usually cooked in broth to a creamy consistency. Rice was essentially introduced to Sicily, Italy and Spain by the Arabs during their rule around the Middle Ages.The flat and humid territories of Italy was found to have very favourable climate to grow these short-grain rice. Rice quickly become a staple all around Italy.
It is not very clear how did risotto came about, but a young apprentice by the name of Valerius is thought to be the creator of risotto and one that invented the famous Milan yellow risotto (Risotto alla Milanese). Valerius was supposedly tasked to work on the stained-glass windows of the Cathedral Duomo Di Milan in 1574. While he was working on the windows, the people at that time made fun of him and accredited the beautiful colours of the stained-glass to the saffron rather than Valerius himself. Valerius was furious. He devised comeback plan to play a trick on the people during his master’s wedding. He added excessive amount saffron into the rice dish during the wedding with the intention to ruin the dish and the festivities of the wedding.
His act of retribution backed fire and everyone loved the risotto. There are also accounts that its actually Valerius team/apprentices that played a trick on him during his daughter's wedding. Whatever it is, we are glad someone played that trick. Risotto is indeed a lovely dish to have.
Now, there are a variety of risotto recipes. Just a quick search on the Internet, you will find all kind of recipes. Going back to our recipe today, here is a breakdown of it:
450g Mix of Swiss Brown and White Mushrooms (sliced finely)
2 Shallots (chopped finely)
1 cup of Arborio Rice
1 cup of White Wine
5 cups of Chicken Stocks
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
4 tablespoon of Salted Butter
Salt and Black Pepper
Chives (chopped finely)
2 handfuls of grated Parmesan Cheese
First, put your pan on medium heat and heat up 2 tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil. On a different pot, warm your chicken broth and keep the broth warm on a low fire throughout the process. Cook your sliced mushrooms for about 3 minutes/ until they are thoroughly cook. Remove the mushroom (together with the mushroom juices) into a large bowl for the risotto later.
Then, using the same pan, heat up another 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Once the oil is heated up, lightly sautéed the diced shallots for about 1 minute (until they are soft and brown(not crispy). Next, pour in the cup of Arborio rice and stir the rice around until all the rice is coated with the oil in the pan.
Stirring is an essential part of making a good risotto. This is where the stirring starts. Lower the fire by a little then pour in the cup of white wine (any dry white wine will do; or be like us; we used one that was on offer when we are shopping for our groceries). Slowly stir the rice and wine mixture until all the wine absorbed into the rice. After that, stir in the warm chicken broth continuously; one and a half ladle at a time until you used up all the broth. This will allow the broth to be absorbed evenly into the risotto. Always remember to watch the rice closely and make sure that they are cooked al dente.
Once the risotto is ready, turn off the fire and mix in 4 tablespoon of salted butter, a handful or more of Parmesan cheese and a bit of the chopped chives. Season the risotto with a bit of salt and black pepper. Mix them well and serve immediately. Top the plate of risotto with a bit of grated Parmesan and chopped chives.
A simple recipe, but comfort food indeed. Do try it out and let us know what you think.