Jump to content

"Premaking" Risotto


Choirgirl21
 Share

Recommended Posts

So I always wondered how the chefs were getting risotto out so quickly on Hell's Kitchen, but somewhat recently caught mention of them partially precooking the rice. Is this standard in restaurants and can it be done in the home without affecting the quality/creaminess of the risotto?

I ask b/c I'm hosting my monthly dinner club on Saturday and risotto may be on the menu. It would be nice if I could shorten the wait time in b/w courses by using this technique, but I don't want it to affect the quality.

Also kind of curious if anyone has tried/had success with the Cook's Illustrated no stir method. I don't have the article, but remember seeing it when browsing someone's issue and figure I can always download that article.

Thanks!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So I always wondered how the chefs were getting risotto out so quickly on Hell's Kitchen, but somewhat recently caught mention of them partially precooking the rice. Is this standard in restaurants and can it be done in the home without affecting the quality/creaminess of the risotto?

I ask b/c I'm hosting my monthly dinner club on Saturday and risotto may be on the menu. It would be nice if I could shorten the wait time in b/w courses by using this technique, but I don't want it to affect the quality.

Also kind of curious if anyone has tried/had success with the Cook's Illustrated no stir method. I don't have the article, but remember seeing it when browsing someone's issue and figure I can always download that article.

Thanks!

I've parcooked risotto a few times for dinner parties and it worked fine. Cooked it maybe 1/2 of the way or so and then let it sit until I was ready to finish it. Just allow for continued cooking while the risotto cools down. I'm still not exactly sure how restaurants do it.

Don't know about the CI no-stir method, but I've found that you don't seem to need to do much stirring for the first half of cooking-- doesn't seem to affect the finished risotto.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So I always wondered how the chefs were getting risotto out so quickly on Hell's Kitchen, but somewhat recently caught mention of them partially precooking the rice. Is this standard in restaurants and can it be done in the home without affecting the quality/creaminess of the risotto?

I ask b/c I'm hosting my monthly dinner club on Saturday and risotto may be on the menu. It would be nice if I could shorten the wait time in b/w courses by using this technique, but I don't want it to affect the quality.

Also kind of curious if anyone has tried/had success with the Cook's Illustrated no stir method. I don't have the article, but remember seeing it when browsing someone's issue and figure I can always download that article.

Thanks!

You can pre-cook it as many, many restaurants do. The main thing to get it correct is to cool it quickly (think fridge) to stop the cooking. That is usually easier than trying to guess how much more it will cook 'cooling' on the counter.

I agree with Chris, you don't need to constantly stir to get a quality product. There are certain folks that will disagree, but I bet they couldn't tell the difference in a blind tasting.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Also kind of curious if anyone has tried/had success with the Cook's Illustrated no stir method. I don't have the article, but remember seeing it when browsing someone's issue and figure I can always download that article.

I haven't read that article, but Jacques Pepin has a no-stir recipe for mushroom risotto in "Fast Food My Way" in which the rice cooks in a covered saute pan. I've tried it with good results.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You can pre-cook it as many, many restaurants do. The main thing to get it correct is to cool it quickly (think fridge) to stop the cooking. That is usually easier than trying to guess how much more it will cook 'cooling' on the counter.

I agree with Chris, you don't need to constantly stir to get a quality product. There are certain folks that will disagree, but I bet they couldn't tell the difference in a blind tasting.

Spread it out on a sheet pan and cover with plastic wrap, then put in fridge.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You can pre-cook it as many, many restaurants do. The main thing to get it correct is to cool it quickly (think fridge) to stop the cooking. That is usually easier than trying to guess how much more it will cook 'cooling' on the counter.

I agree with Chris, you don't need to constantly stir to get a quality product. There are certain folks that will disagree, but I bet they couldn't tell the difference in a blind tasting.

Spread it out on a sheet pan and cover with plastic wrap, then put in fridge.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Have you tried the pressure-cooker method? Personally love it for easy risotto.

Seconding that. Test it first solo, of course, but I always get rave reviews with this quick-prep method. Lorna Sass's "Vegetarian Cooking Under Pressure" has a highly detailed play-by-play of the technique and recipes. You can probably find extracts and such online.

And perhaps edging into trite, but can I nominate a pumpkin or other fall squash as a star in your risotto show? So many ways to have it hum the tune of autumn.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Spread it out on a sheet pan and cover with plastic wrap, then put in fridge.

I'm afraid I'm a little too scared to test this out on my guests, but in case I decide I will, I'm still a little unclear how it works. Basically just cook it as usual and when it's just not finished, stop cooking as you've directed, and reserve the remaining stock for later. Then, when I start up again, I just heat it up and go on about my business as usual? I'm sorry, this is probably obvious, but I'm in a bit of a state of panic overall about my preparedness and information makes me feel better. :(

Seconding that. Test it first solo, of course, but I always get rave reviews with this quick-prep method. Lorna Sass's "Vegetarian Cooking Under Pressure" has a highly detailed play-by-play of the technique and recipes. You can probably find extracts and such online.

And perhaps edging into trite, but can I nominate a pumpkin or other fall squash as a star in your risotto show? So many ways to have it hum the tune of autumn.

I've never used a pressure cooker so a la the last episode of The Next Iron Chef, I don't think I'll be trying it out this time. :) I did recently acquire a pressure cooker though so I will test this on myself the next time I make it.

No squash in the risotto - wild mushrooms and leeks instead - but my first course is almost definitely a squash soup and dessert is a greek style candied pumpkin with honey-sweetened yogurt in phyllo cups.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm afraid I'm a little too scared to test this out on my guests, but in case I decide I will, I'm still a little unclear how it works. Basically just cook it as usual and when it's just not finished, stop cooking as you've directed, and reserve the remaining stock for later. Then, when I start up again, I just heat it up and go on about my business as usual? I'm sorry, this is probably obvious, but I'm in a bit of a state of panic overall about my preparedness and information makes me feel better. :(

I've never used a pressure cooker so a la the last episode of The Next Iron Chef, I don't think I'll be trying it out this time. :) I did recently acquire a pressure cooker though so I will test this on myself the next time I make it.

No squash in the risotto - wild mushrooms and leeks instead - but my first course is almost definitely a squash soup and dessert is a greek style candied pumpkin with honey-sweetened yogurt in phyllo cups.

You're right on with the cooking method. Just be sure to heat the stock as you finish the risotto.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Check out this web site for ideas: http://www.bkafka.com/. Look in her recipes for the Risotto with Almonds that discusses cooking the risotto part way and continuing later. She also champions cooking risotto in the microwave and includes several recipes for that - including a video of her making it. I have a microwave cookbook that has a simple modification of Barbara Kafka's recipe which has you to cook the the rice, oil and onion mixture first, then stir in the liquid, cover and cook for 18 minutes unattended. Stir, add Parmesan and serve. I'll send it to you if you like.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...