Anyone who has tried to make Risotto at home knows that it’s a notoriously difficult dish to successfully prepare. What you expect to be your most delicious creation ever can very easily turn into a big ball of gummy mush. So, how do you make the perfect risotto? Well, our own Chef Ray, from Longboat Key’s Euphemia Haye restaurant, is a very good person to ask! In 1999, Chef Ray won the “Best Risotto” award in the country for his Wine-Braised Duck with Dirty Risotto and Olives dish! Then, in 2000, he went on to the Italian Culinary Institute for Foreigners’ International Risotto competition and he won 3rd place – in the whole world! So, if there’s anyone who can give tips on how to make good risotto, Chef Ray is the man.
In his October 16th 2013 cooking class, Chef Ray taught how to make Risotto with Wild Mushrooms. Here are some very useful tips for making the perfect Risotto that will give you creamy (but not mushy), flavorful and Risotto with the perfect texture (and it will really impress your friends and family!).
1. Choose the Right Grain of Rice
There are different types of the high-starch, short-grain white rice that’s used to make risotto and each cooks differently. Arborio is the most common but Chef Ray prefers Carnaroli or Vialone Nano. Carnaroli is the least likely to overcook and Vialone Nano cooks the fastest and also absorbs the most flavor.
2. Make a Porcini Broth
To get the flavor that you’re looking for, Chef Ray advises that you make a broth from dried porcini mushrooms. Chef Ray says, “To make a broth, you can’t use fresh porcinis. You have to use dried porcinis. It’s a very specific flavor you’re looking for here.”
3. Be Patient
“It takes a lot of time and care to cook good risotto,” says Chef Ray. You can’t hurry it up, so if you don’t feel like lovingly stirring for 25 minutes – maybe instant rice is a better option for you.
4. Finish with “Mantecare”
Mantecare is a Spanish terms that basically means “the addition of soft butter to finish the dish.” Chef Ray says, “Add a pat of butter at the very end and mix it through. It will give you the creamy consistency you want.”
For more detailed Risotto instructions, check out Chef Ray’s cookbook, “You Don’t Have to be Crazy, but It Helps!”
For Chef Ray’s Risotto with Wild Mushrooms recipe, click here.