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Patience is the secret ingredient that sets a great risotto apart from stodgy rice porridge, says Liam Tomlin. Here, the renowned chef shows how it’s done in four easy steps

Must-Have Kitchen Tools

·         Two heavy-based saucepans for even heat distribution and consistent cooking temperature

·         A non-stick, heavy-based pan that allows cooking with the minimum amount of oil and even heat distribution

·         A stainless-steel ladle with a deep bout for scooping the stock

·         A wooden spoon for stirring the risotto – a plastic or metal spoon will break the rice grains and change the risotto’s texture

 

1.    Bring 1.2 liters good-quality mushroom or chicken stock to the boil in a heavy-based saucepan, and then reduce the heat to a simmer. In another large, heavy-based saucepan, melt 50g unsalted butter, add ½ clove crushed garlic and 100 g finely chopped onion and sweat, without coloring, for 2 minutes. Add 250 g Arborio rice and seal for a further 2 minutes without coloring.

Description: step 1

Bring 1.2 litres good-quality mushroom or chicken stock to the boil in a heavy-based saucepan, then reduce the heat to a simmer

2.    Add 1 ladle of stock and stir it into the rice. Cook, stirring continuously to prevent the rice from sticking. Reduce the heat to a simmer (too much heat will result in boiled rice) and continue to cook until the stock has been absorbed. Continue adding the stock, 1 ladle at a time, and cook the risotto until alienate- this should take 18 to 20 minutes depending on the amount of risotto you are making.

Description: step 2

Add 1 ladle of stock and stir it into the rice

3.    To finish the risotto, add 50g chilled, diced unsalted butter and stir into the rice until fully incorporated. Add 50 g grated fresh Parmesan and fold through the risotto, then add 2T cream, if desired, and stir through. Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and a drizzle of truffle oil, if desired

Description: step 3

To finish the risotto, add 50g chilled, diced unsalted butter and stir into the rice until fully incorporated.

4.    Sauté 100 g sliced fresh oyster mushrooms and 100 g sliced button mushrooms in 2Toil and fold through the risotto. Mix in 50g dried porcini mushrooms that have been soaked in warm water for 15 minutes and drained. Divide the risotto between warm bowls and top with shaved Parmesan.

Description: step 4

Divide the risotto between warm bowls and top with shaved Parmesan.

Taking Stock

As any chef will tell you, a rich stock is the backbone of any good risotto. In addition to authentic Italian risotto rice (plus a new range of easy-to-make flavored risottos, boxed for convenience with sachets of seasoning in flavors such as three cheese and mushroom), Woolworths offers some superb liquid stocks made entirely from organic ingredients and available in vegetable, chicken and beef flavors. Of course, if you have the time, you can make your own stock from scratch. Here's how it's done:

Description: A good risotto has a slight bite and a creamy texture

A good risotto has a slight bite and a creamy texture

1.    Heat 4T vegetable oil in a large cast-iron pan until smoking hot. Add 2 kg sliced button mushrooms and 6 sliced black mushrooms, 1 clove crushed garlic and 4 peeled and sliced shallots. Sauté until golden.

2.    Add 1 cup Madeira wine and cook until the liquid has reduced by three-quarters. Remove the pan from the heat.

3.    Season lightly with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, then transfer the mushrooms to a heavy-based saucepan, cover with 3 litters water and bring to the boil.

4.    Reduce the heat to a simmer and skim off any impurities that float to the surface. Add 50 g dried porcini mushrooms and simmer for 40 minutes.

5.    Add 4 sprigs fresh thyme, 6 sprigs Italian parsley and 6 sprigs fresh tarragon and cook for further 5 minutes. Adjust the seasoning to suit your taste.

6.    Pass the stock through a fine sieve, pressing down on the mushrooms and herbs to extract as much flavor and color as possible. Use the stock immediately, or store it in a sealed container in the refrigerator and use within three days.

Risotto Dos And Don’ts:

Do use only Italian short-grain rice varieties such as Arborio, carnaroli, vialone nano and baldo, as these grains tend to absorb less liquid.

Don't wash the rice prior to cooking it, as this will remove some of its starch.

Description: Risotto Dos

Risotto Dos

Do fry the rice before adding the stock, as this will prevent the grains from absorbing too much liquid too soon.

Do add hot stock to the cooking rice, as adding cold stock will result in hard, undercooked kernels in the rice grains.

Don't use a metal spoon to stir the risotto, as this will break the kernels and alter the risotto's texture.

Do use white wine instead of red, when the recipe calls for adding wine, as red wine tends to leave a slightly bitter aftertaste.

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