October 14, 2014
When I first started making risotto, I thought that the creamy texture came from using good cheeses and creams. While cheese and cream help, I have learned that the creamy texture comes from using the right kind of rice.
The most common and widely available risotto rice is arborio, but I have found that carnaroli is even better--and now easier to find thanks to Williams-Sonoma (aka my version of Toys 'r Us). Carnaroli has a higher starch content, firmer texture, and a longer grain. As a result, it retains its shape better during risotto making.
This risotto is simple but very rich. At it's heart, it's a basic risotto with onions, some butter, and Parmesan cheese, and it is distinguished with two key ingredients: carnaroli rice and whipped cream. The carnaroli rice is what really gave the risotto a creamy texture. Before liquids are added, the rice is cooked with onions, and this toasts the rice, in essence, and results in a nutty taste. (Mmm...nutty aroma, glass of white wine? Yes, please!)
Now, let's talk about adding whipped cream. I know the logical thought is that the whipped cream adds more creaminess. In this case, I felt that the whipped cream actually helped add some air to the risotto which made this rich dish lighter and almost silky.
The bottom line: you are in for a decadent dinner with this risotto! The flavors seem simple, but simple is good. Bon appetit!
Yields 4 servings
1/4 cup heavy cream
4 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup minced onion
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 1/2 cups Carnaroli rice (or Arborio rice)
1 cup white wine
8 tbs. cold butter
1 cup Parmesan Reggiano cheese, grated
Salt, to taste
First, prepare the whipped cream. In a small mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to whip the cream to firm peaks. Then, cover and refrigerate.
Next, in a medium sized saucepan, heat the chicken broth to a simmer. In another medium sized saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and the salt. Stir the onions, and cook until they are soft but not browned. Add the rice and continue to cook, stirring frequently for 3 minutes. Add the white wine and stir constantly until all of the wine is absorbed by the rice.
Add 1 cup of the chicken stock. Stir until it is almost completely absorbed by the rice, about 2 minutes. Continue adding 1/2 cup of the stock at a time, and allow each addition to absorb before adding the next. The rice will be tender but still firm to the bite (al dente!), and the mixture should be creamy. Once the rice is cooked to al dente, add butter and stir it into the rice until melted. Add the Parmesan Reggiano and stir until combined. Add any desired salt to taste, and then quickly stir in the whipped cream. Serve immediately.
Source: Thomas Keller via Williams-Sonoma