I often cook without a recipe, improvising on the basis of what I have available and the knowledge I have gradually amassed through experience. Sometimes I do turn back to a book when I am approaching something new. However, once in a while, I find it is still worth revisiting other people’s ideas even for dishes which are well-established in my standard repertoire. A successful example of that was last night, when I turned to advice from the Serious Eats Food Lab on The Road to Better Risotto.
The two twists I picked up from that page were:
- In order to get a depth of flavour from “toasting” the rice without losing any of the creaminess, I washed the rice in my stock. That meant starch from the outside of the rice got washed into my broth, ready to be added back after the toasting stage.
- Rather than adding the stock a ladle-full at a time, I added it all in one go (after the initial liquid addition, a glass of white wine, had almost cooked in). About ten minutes later, I added some chopped peppers, gave everything a stir and covered it again.
I did leave the pan uncovered for a few minutes towards the end to aid evaporation; I went for a ratio of four times as much stock as rice but I didn’t figure in the glass of wine so it was probably a bit more liquid than was ideal. The result (helped by the roast tomato and mozzarella idea from another Serious Eats post) was probably my best risotto so far.
Even old tricks can be improved. Risotto for the win!