AskDefine | Define risotto

Dictionary Definition

risotto n : rice cooked with broth and sprinkled with grated cheese [syn: Italian rice]

User Contributed Dictionary




  1. An Italian savoury dish made with rice and other ingredients.
    I'll order us a couple of risottos
  2. Risotto considered as food.
    Do you like risotto?


risotto considered as food



  1. risotto

Extensive Definition

Risotto is a rich and creamy, traditional Italian rice dish. It is one of the most common ways of cooking rice in Italy.
It originated in North Italy, specifically Eastern Piedmont, Western Lombardy, and Veneto (where vialone nano comes from), where rice paddies are abundant. It is one of the pillars of Milanese cuisine.

Rice varieties

A high-starch (amylopectin), low-amylose japonica rice is used to make risotto. Such rices are stickier than other varieties. The principal varieties are the traditional arborio, carnaroli, and vialone nano, and the newer baldo Carnaroli and vialone nano are considered to be the best (and most expensive) varieties, with different users having different preferences. They have slightly different properites; for example carnaroli is less likely to get overcooked than vialone nano, but the latter may aborb condiments better. Rice designations of superfino, semifino and fino refer to the size and shape of the grains, not the quality.

Basic preparation

There are many different risotto recipes with different ingredients, but they are all based on rice of an appropriate variety cooked in a standard way.
The rice is first cooked briefly in butter or olive oil, then boiling water or stock, and sometimes a little white wine, is added, one ladleful at a time, stirring almost constantly, tasting until it is ready (a total time of about 19 minutes after first adding liquid). It may be removed from the heat a few minutes earlier, and left to cook with its residual heat. Some ingredients, e.g. onion, may be sweated in oil before the rice is added; others are added when some liquid is present.
Properly cooked risotto is rich and creamy but still al dente, with separate grains.
Stirring loosens the starch molecules from the outside of the rice grains into the surrounding liquid, creating a kind of sauce. The traditional texture is fairly fluid, or all'onda ("wavy").
Risotto is often finished by beating in a traditional mantecatura of lumps of cold butter and grated Parmesan cheese just before serving. The cheese is usually left out if the risotto is served with fish or other seafood.
In a restaurant risotto may be removed from the heat before it is fully cooked, and finished at the last moment, although the result is not considered to be quite as good.
Risotto may be made with other rice varieties, but will not have the creaminess of the traditional dish.


Common recipes include risotto alla Milanese, flavored with saffron, traditionally served with osso buco (braised veal shanks), and risotto al Barolo, made with red wine, but thousands of variations exist.
Risotti can include vegetables, meat, seafood, various wines, cheeses and even fruits. Black risotto al nero di seppia is a specialty of the Veneto region, made with cuttlefish that have been cooked with their ink-sacs intact. Risi e Bisi is a basic risotto with green peas. Other versions include tomato risotto, squash risotto, and mushroom risotto.
Away from Italy dishes made in a similar way to true risotto but with a different starch are sometimes called "risotto": "potato risotto", "barley risotto."


  • Barrett, Judith, and Wasserman, Norma (1987). Risotto. New York: Scribner. ISBN 0-02-030395-5.
  • Hazan, Marcella (1992). Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. ISBN 0-394-58404-X.
risotto in Catalan: Risotto
risotto in Danish: Risotto
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risotto in Estonian: Risotto
risotto in Spanish: Risotto (gastronomía)
risotto in French: Risotto
risotto in Korean: 리조또
risotto in Croatian: Rižoto
risotto in Italian: Risotto
risotto in Hebrew: ריזוטו
risotto in Lithuanian: Rizotas
risotto in Lombard: Risott
risotto in Dutch: Risotto
risotto in Japanese: リゾット
risotto in Norwegian: Risotto
risotto in Polish: Risotto
risotto in Portuguese: Risotto
risotto in Russian: Ризотто
risotto in Finnish: Risotto
risotto in Swedish: Risotto
risotto in Chinese: 意大利调味饭
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