For a successful risotto, you must watch 3 basic points. These are: the selection of the right rice variety, frequent stirring and the addition of the right stock
1. Rice variety. Not all rice is suitable for risotto. Its preparation method and the desired result call for rice with a high amylopectin content; this is a specific type of starch which is responsible for the characteristic creamy texture of risotto. Another characteristic sensory difference between the varieties suitable for risotto in relation to others is that the grain is shorter and fatter. The best known varieties are: 1. Arborio, the best know and most common variety. 2. Carnaroli, according to many the “luxury” variety which cannot be overcooked easily. 3. Vialone nano, ensures particularly creamy risotto. In most supermarkets these days you will be able to buy a rice variety suitable for risotto (usually Arborio).
2. Stirring. Among the most important points you must watch when cooking risotto. Stirring must be, if not constant, very frequent. In this way, the starch from the rice is transferred to the liquid where it is homogenized and starts creating the risotto’s characteristic creamy and moist texture.
3. Stock. The right stock will form the flavor base for the risotto. Just think; rice is capable of absorbing up to 3 times its volume in water. Unavoidably, the flavor of the liquid is an integral part of the final flavor profile of your dish. In most cases, the type of risotto you want to make, will dictate the type of stock you should use. For example, in a risotto with shrimps it is best to use a stock made from the shrimp shells. As a general rule one could say that chicken and vegetable stock can be used in most cases.