By Chef Todd

Parmesan Risotto Takes Time, but is Sooooo Worth it!

Making Parmesan Risotto will rock your cooking world if you’ve been eating Uncle Ben’s your whole life. Creating this classic Italian dish is intimidating to many people, but it’s incredibly easy to accomplish. It takes some patience, but is always worth the effort.

Risotto is not a type of rice. Risotto is the name of the dish prepared with short grain rice called Arborio. Arborio rice has become known as “Risotto Rice”, but the Risotto method can be used with many other types of rice.

The science of cooking behind rice is “gelatinization of starches”. At 150F (65c), starches will begin to absorb liquids and swell. This is how sauces are thickened, and why the water disappears and the rice gets bigger under cooking.

To make Parmesan Risotto, you’ll need Arborio rice. It’s very sticky rice with a high starch content.

Finished Risotto will stick together, but will be creamy. A well prepared dish will have the texture of tapioca or rice pudding rather than sticky sushi rice.

If you want to make Risotto with seafood, vegetables, or chicken, the procedure is the same. You begin by heating a small amount of fat in the pan and sautéing aromatic ingredients like onion or garlic. Then, you add the Arborio rice and thoroughly coat the grains in fat. This will help inhibit some of the gelatinization of starches, lowering the stick-factor.

Here’s the key to making Parmesan Risotto. Take your time! Add hot liquid in very small amounts, allowing the rice to absorb all the previous liquid before adding more. After about 45 minutes, your rice should be full of liquid and cannot absorb any more. Taste for desired texture and top with as much parmesan cheese as you want.

Parmesan Risotto is a great place to start mastering the Risotto method for making rice. Once you’ve created a creamy flavorful cheese Risotto, then all healthy cooking recipes with Arborio rice will be at your command.

What’s your favorite risotto creation? Risotto with Seafood? Mushroom Risotto? Italian Sausage Risotto? Be sure to leave your comment below...