Here are a few things I have learned from cooking with Aborio rice
- Cook with real butter (yum), not olive oil
- Lightly brown your rice before you add in your liquid, this lock in the starch and make for a creamy risotto.
- Cook with a wooden spoon, it will not retain heat and will help cook the rice more evenly. It will also bruise the rice a little when you stir it releasing more starch.
- Any liquid you add, it needs to be warm. If you add cold liquid it can "shock" your rice and it will stop absorbing liquid. Also, if you live in a dry climate like I do, you will probably have to add much more liquid than the recipe calls for.
- You will want to stir the rice frequently. This helps to make sure it does not burn on the bottom as well as allowing the liquid to reach every grain of rice.
- The flavors you add in the beginning of cooking will be the most prevalent as they are soaked into the rice first. Also, as the liquid evaporates the flavors become more intense in your rice.
- You will probably cook this longer than you would expect. Because risotto absorbs so much liquid it can triple in size. Taste your rice, you do not want a rock hard center. You will want it to be "al dente," creamy but not mushy. This is a rice and if not cooked long enough will leave that grainy texture in your mouth.
- Have fun with it! Risotto is so versatile that you can add just about anything to it. Try making it with Wine, onions, mushrooms, sea food, a side dish for chicken or steak or anything! Play around with it and let me know any ideas you have.