The risotto report

Updated: Oct 31 2004, 05:30am hrs
Italian risotto is quite different from the way we eat rice. Normally served as a first course, risotto can also be a main course.

Practically any ingredient, meat, fish, fowl, herb, vegetable, cheese or sausage can be added to a risotto for flavour. However, the basic method for preparing risotto is the same. The idea is to savourise the rice.

Once you get the method down, risotto is quite simple to prepare, even if a little time consuming. In the north of Italy, butter is used in the preparation of risotto while in the south it is olive oil. And risotto must be served as soon as it is ready.

Master Chef Daniele Cattuzzi, Italys risotto specialist from the suburbs of Pavia, who was in the Capital last week for the IV Italian Language Week in the world, conducted a risotto workshop and parted with some 25 ways to cook risotto came at the Italian Embassy Cultural Centre. He says, The most important element for making risotto is the specific short grain rice. Unlike rice used in making Indian pulao, this rice is crisp, hard and creamier in consistency. Slow cooking over a low flame in a metal vessel with a steel lining are all a must for making risotto. As for flavour, risotto has cheesy feel and taste.

There are three varieties of rice that are used for making risotto, Arborio is the most easily available. Superior options are Vialone Nano and Carnaroli,of which Carnaroli is the best choice.

It is said that Lombardys Milan is where the first classic risotto was prepared. And the most widely known, Risotto alla Milanese, is from here.