Making a perfect risotto isn’t easy.
So here are some useful tips:
Copper, an excellent heat conductor, is perfect, but steel and aluminum are also fine. The pan should be wide enough and have medium-high sides, so that the rice and broth can form a layer three to four fingers high.
There is an intense debate regarding whether it’s better to dry-toast the rice or start with a mirepoix. If you prefer to start with the mirepoix we recommend slowly softening a finely chopped onion, shallot or leek with a bit of broth, then thoroughly evaporating the broth before toasting the rice.
Toasting is one of the most delicate and important steps to making a good risotto and marks a clear distinction between risotto and boiled rice.
The secret to a master roasting is to heat the rice grains well, so that the rice releases the right amount of starch before it is reduced and cooked.
Broth plays a fundamental role in making a risotto by the book; it must be added hot when the risotto starts to dry to allow the rice to release all the starches without breaking the grains. Never use cold broth or cold water, as they alter the flavor and the way the risotto cooks.
Once the rice is cooked it must be taken off the burner and creamed with cold butter and a nice sprinkling of Parmigiano Reggiano. Before serving, let the risotto sit for a few minutes in the pot with the lid on to make it creamier.