Italian food

Risotto - the culinary symbol of northern Italy

Rice is one of the few cereals, the national food on the basis of which is in most countries of the world. So Italian cuisine did not disregard this wonderful product. Risotto (Risotto) - a rice dish cooked on a broth. It is common in all regions of the republic, but it is still more preferred in the north of the country. At home, it is usually served first before the main dish. The huge variety of risotto makes it an attractive target for both restaurant and home cooks. Our article is a laid-back guide to the world where rice rules.


The history of risotto is naturally connected with the history of rice in Italy. Krupa was first introduced into the country by the Arabs in the Middle Ages. Humidity from the Mediterranean Sea is ideal for growing this crop.

The popularity of rice grew, but mainly among the rich population due to exorbitant product prices. As soon as the mass sales of cereals abroad began, its cost in the republic quickly began to decline. This contributed to her presence in almost every home.

Presumably, the first risotto recipe dates back to 1809, when a young glassblower from Flanders, accustomed to using saffron as a pigment in his craft, added spice to cooked rice at a wedding celebration.

As a dish with an established recipe for risotto, it was first mentioned in the book Trattato di cucina (Treatise on Cooking) in 1854. However, the question of exactly who invented the traditional dish that has become traditional remains open in Italy.

Varieties of rice for cooking

Risotto is usually made from round or short-grain rice. Such varieties have the ability to absorb liquid and secrete starch. Therefore, they are more sticky during cooking than long-grain cereals.

The main rice varieties from which the dish is cooked in Italy are called: Arborio (Arborio), Baldo (Baldo), Carnaroli (Carnaroli), Maratelli (Maratelli), Padano (Padano), Roma (Roma), Vialone Nano (Vialone Nano).

Carnaroli, Maratelli and Vialone Nano are considered the best and most expensive options. Moreover, the first of them is less likely to be digested. And the last one - cooks faster and better absorbs seasonings.

Species such as Roma and Baldo will not have a creamy taste typical of a risotto. It is believed that they are better suited for soups and sweet rice desserts.

Varieties by region

Risotto is so versatile that almost every cook can boast of his own masterpiece. But there are varieties whose recipes do not need to be supplemented. All of them have traditional names:

  • Risotto alla milanese (Risotto alla milanese) - a dish born in Milan. It is prepared on beef broth with beef bone marrow, lard and cheese. Flavored and tinted with saffron. We recommend reading an article where to try a real risotto in Milan.
  • Risotto al Barolo (Risotto al Barolo) - Piedmont variant of the food. Made with the addition of red wine, meat or sausages and Borlotti beans.
  • Risotto al nero di seppia is a dish specific to the Veneto region. It consists of cuttlefish and its ink, which give it a charcoal black color.

  • Risi e bisi is another representative of Veneto. This spring version of cooking is more like a thick soup and is served, as a rule, with a spoon rather than a fork. Young peas are added to it and seasoned with pancetta.
  • Risotto alla zucca (Risotto alla zucca) - pumpkin dish with saffron and grated cheese.
  • Risotto alla pilota (Risotto alla pilota) - a dish typical of Mantova (Mantova). Prepare it with mortadella, pork and Parmesan cheese.
  • Risotto ai fungi (Risotto ai funghi) - mushroom version of the rice. It often contains porcini mushrooms, butterfish, summer mushrooms or champignons.

In Italy, the term risotto means not so much a rice dish as a special technology for its preparation. Therefore, there are a huge number of its species.


It is not possible to list all risotto recipes in one or even several articles. Not only around the world, but even within the borders of Italy itself, no one will undertake to calculate their exact number. Therefore, in the article we selected the options that are most popular.


Just as you can’t throw words out of a “song,” it’s impossible to ignore classics in recipes of national dishes. For risotto, the Milanese version is traditional. We will consider it first of all.

Essential Ingredients:

  • Round grain rice - 320 g;
  • Meat broth - 1l;
  • Dry white wine - 100 ml;
  • Beef bone marrow - 30 g;
  • Butter - 60 g;
  • Saffron stigmas (16 pcs.) Or ground saffron (1 sachet);
  • Onion - ½ pcs.;
  • Hard cheese (parmesan, grana padano) - 50 g;
  • Salt to taste.

It is unlikely that you will come across for sale prepared beef marrow. But it is found in sufficient quantities in the femur and tibia. It separates perfectly from hard tissue with a narrow spoon.

If you do not have the opportunity to purchase any famous Italian hard cheese, then use domestic products (gouda, tilsiter, Russian).

So, first of all, we prepare saffron in case of using stigmas. They must be filled with 50 ml of hot water and left for 2 hours.
Next, in a pan with high sides, melt 30 g of butter and fry finely chopped onion and bone marrow on it. Add rice and fry until the grains are shiny. At this moment, pour white wine and let it evaporate over high heat.

Salt to taste, introduce the hot broth in such an amount that it completely covers the rice. During cooking over medium heat, mix the cereal several times. Add broth if necessary.

A few minutes before cooking, add the infusion or saffron powder. Mix thoroughly again.

Remove the pan from the heat and enrich the taste of risotto with the remaining butter and grated cheese. Let cool for 5 minutes. Your Milanese risotto is ready to be served!

With mushrooms

Mushrooms are one of the most valuable gifts that Mother Earth gives us. There is no better way to enjoy their taste than to cook risotto with porcini mushrooms. Its creamy, enveloping taste will not only pamper the family on weekdays, but will also be a great addition to the festive table.

Ingredients for mushroom risotto:

  • Round grain rice - 320 g;
  • Ceps - 400 g;
  • Vegetable broth - 1 l;
  • Small onion - 1 pc.;
  • Garlic - 1 clove;
  • Butter - 30 g (+30 g for serving);
  • Olive oil - 2 tbsp. spoons;
  • Salt and black pepper to taste;
  • Hard cheese - 50 g;
  • Sliced ​​parsley - 2 tbsp. spoons.

In the absence of ceps, they are replaced with any available options. But it is worth remembering that only "kings of the forest kingdom" will give a dish a bright mushroom aroma and a unique velvet taste.

First of all, prepare the vegetable broth. In about 2 liters of water, boil coarsely chopped carrots, onions, celery for 1 hour (you can add tomato, pepper in a pot). We filter and add salt to taste.

After preparing the broth, we deal with ceps. We remove the rest of the earth, if any, and wipe it with a damp cloth. We wash the very soiled fungus under running water and collect moisture with a dry towel. Next, we cut the mushrooms along into slices 7-8 mm thick.

Heat the olive oil in a pan and lightly fry the chopped garlic clove. Then increase the heat and add the mushrooms. Fry for 10 minutes until golden brown, salt and pepper. Mushrooms prepared in this way will pleasantly crunch in the main dish.

Meanwhile, peel and finely chop the onion. Melt the butter in a pan and send the onions there. Stew over low heat for 10-15 minutes, if necessary add a spoonful of broth. When the onion softens, pour the rice and fry for a couple of minutes.

Pour the cereal completely covered with an oily shell with a soup ladle and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly. As it is absorbed, we introduce a small amount of liquid. Ensure that small boiling bubbles are constant. When the rice is almost ready, as the Italians say al dente, add the mushrooms and wait another 5-7 minutes. Turn off the fire and add salt to taste.

In the finale, season the risotto with grated cheese and the remaining butter, mix well. Before serving, decorate with chopped parsley.

It is advisable to eat fresh risotto with mushrooms. You can save it in the refrigerator in an airtight container for 1-2 days.

With seafood

Seafood risotto is a classic Italian cuisine dish that warms you well on cold days. At first glance, the recipe may seem quite complicated. In fact, it does not require special culinary skills. It is only necessary to carefully choose seafood. In our version, we took mussels, oysters, shrimp and squid. But the types of seafood can vary according to your taste.

Essential Ingredients:

  • Round grain rice - 320 g;
  • Shell mussels - 1 kg;
  • Oysters - 1 kg;
  • Peeled squids - 400 g;
  • Shrimp - 350 g;
  • Parsley - 1 bunch;
  • Garlic - 2 cloves;
  • Dry white wine - 200 ml;
  • Fish broth - 0.5 l;
  • Olive oil - 80 ml;
  • Onion - 1 pc.;
  • Celery - 1 pc.;
  • Carrots - 1 pc.;
  • Chili pepper - 1 pc.;
  • Salt and black pepper to taste.

Preparation of seafood consists of several stages:

  1. The washed squids are washed under running water and cut into rings.
  2. Shrimp are separated from the shell.
  3. We wash the mussels under the tap, and soak the oysters overnight in water. We cook the first and second in different pots over high heat for 1-2 minutes, until their shells open. Filter the broths in one container, and clean the clams and set aside until use.

When the preparation is completed, we proceed to the main process. Grind carrots, celery, garlic and chili and fry in 40 ml of olive oil. Add the squid and pour 100 ml of white wine. Stew until soft.

At this time, in another pan, fry the chopped onion in the remaining oil over low heat. When the onion becomes transparent, pour in the rice and mix thoroughly for 3-5 minutes. Enter 100 ml of white wine. As soon as the wine is absorbed, we begin to gradually add the clam broth and leave to cook.

Soft squids are supplemented with shrimp and finely chopped parsley and cook for another 5 minutes. If necessary, add a couple of soup ladles.

When the rice is almost ready, combine it with a mixture of squid and shrimp, mussels and oysters. Mix thoroughly, season with salt and pepper and turn off the heat. Leave the dish to rest for a few minutes under the lid. For serving, decorate seafood risotto with fresh parsley.

With Chiken

Today, chicken is the most sought-after product in its category. Therefore, dishes with him are incredibly popular. We present to your attention a simple recipe for crispy risotto.

To prepare it you will need:

  • Round grain rice - 300 g;
  • Chicken Breasts - 400 g;
  • Vegetable broth - 1 l;
  • Butter - 30 g;
  • Hard cheese - 40 g;
  • Olive oil - 60 g;
  • Paprika - 10 g;
  • Black olives - 40 g;
  • Salt to taste.

In a pan, fry the rice in olive oil. When the cereal is completely covered with an oily film, season it with a pinch of salt. Pour the vegetable broth so that it covers the rice completely. In the cooking process, add fluid as needed.
While rice is boiling, we are engaged in chicken breast. We cut it into cubes with a side of about 2 cm. Fry in olive oil over high heat for a couple of minutes. We finish the treatment with a six-minute exposure in the oven at 200 degrees.

When rice is ready, add butter and grated hard cheese to it. Mix thoroughly for about a minute.

To serve hot risotto, sprinkle with paprika, spread pieces of chicken and black olives, cut in half. Paprika can be replaced with saffron if desired.

With vegetables

Risotto with vegetables is a healthy and nutritious, and at the same time very bright dish. It is simple and quick to prepare. Ideal in the summer. Vegetarians will also appreciate it.

Necessary components:

  • Round grain rice - 320 g;
  • Carrots - 100 g;
  • Yellow bell pepper (peeled) - 50 g;
  • Red bell pepper - 50 g;
  • Eggplant - 100 g;
  • Zucchini - 100 g;
  • Green peas - 50 g;
  • Cherry Tomatoes - 150 g;
  • Celery - 1 pc.;
  • Onion - 1 pc.;
  • Butter - 20 g;
  • Olive oil - 180 ml;
  • Vegetable broth - 1 l;
  • Chopped parsley - 2 tbsp. spoons;
  • Hard cheese (grated) - 4 tbsp. spoons;
  • White wine - 40 ml;
  • Sugar - 1 tbsp. spoon;
  • Salt and black pepper to taste.

All vegetables for making risotto should be fresh, not frozen. The only exception is peas. You can make this dish with any vegetables according to the season, focusing on your preferences.

First of all, wash and grind vegetables (except onions). It is necessary that everything be cut into small cubes of the same size (with a side of no more than 1 cm). Cut the cherry tomatoes into halves and add a tablespoon of sugar. This will help them lose excess acidity.

Passed chopped onion half in a saucepan on a mixture of oils (creamy 10 g and 3 tbsp.spoons of olive) over a very low heat. So that it does not burn, add a little broth. When the onion becomes transparent (after about 15 minutes), we send chopped zucchini, eggplant, half a carrot, peas and bell pepper to it. Salt, pepper and simmer for 15 minutes. Vegetables should be soft, but not sour.

In another pan, fry the remaining onions, celery and carrots in olive oil for 10 minutes. Then add the rice and fry for a couple more minutes. Pour in white wine. When it evaporates, we introduce the soup ladle and cook, stirring occasionally.

After absorbing the liquid, we send the ready-made vegetables to the rice, salt with pepper. Pour the broth again in portions and cook until the cereal is fully cooked. Mix everything with cherry tomatoes and turn off the heat.

We supplement the still hot risotto with butter, grated cheese and parsley. Mix everything thoroughly and serve.

Calorie content and benefits

The calorie content of risotto directly depends on its additional components. For example, the nutritional value of 100 g of a classic dish is approximately 350 kcal and consists of:

  • Proteins - 14 g;
  • Fats - 13 g;
  • Carbohydrates - 44 g.

This amount of fat is about 40% of the recommended daily intake for a healthy person. In order to reduce the lipid content, it is necessary to reduce the proportions of fatty components (butter, cheese, cream).

For all the calorie content, a medium-sized risotto portion contains many valuable nutrients, especially if the dish is prepared with vegetables or seafood. The latter are distinguished by a large percentage of the required proteins and the presence of omega-3 fatty acids, which reduce the inflammatory processes in the body and improve the state of the cardiovascular system.

There are several recommendations to help make risotto a healthier diet:

  1. The increase in the mass of dietary fiber (vegetables) when using less round grain rice.
  2. Replacing part of the cereal with wild or brown rice, as well as cheese, with low-fat cottage cheese, and meat broth with vegetable.
  3. Using fresh vegetables to serve. An excellent companion to risotto is leaf lettuce.
  4. Reducing the eatable portion.

If you adhere to such simple tips, then the national dish of Italy can become a traditional healthy dish on your table.

A short article about the giant of Italian cuisine has come to its logical conclusion.Cook with zeal, dare under any circumstances, do not be afraid to fantasize and remember: "The path to the heart of an Italian man lies through a properly prepared risotto!"

Watch the video: Piedmont's Cuisine With Chef Pierpaolo Livorno (December 2019).


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