My perfect dried mushroom risotto: you need 300ml of liquid per 100g of rice and that’s the whole secret. Oh, and you’d better stir it for forty minutes too.
I totally appreciate the fact that it takes an Italian, not a recipe, to make the perfect risotto. They will scoff at measuring jugs, get the right amount of rice by a handful and slosh wine in generously, ‘a little more’ being the closest to precision they will ever get.
But I am a creature who needs precision, scales, grams and millilitres. Imperial metrics baffle me; I painstakingly convert cups to ounces to grams. I worry that my reverse conversion that I offer with my recipes won’t work, because what if you’re five grams short? What if my eggs are larger than your eggs or have more yolk? I like structure; I adore rule books.
So it’s taken me some time to work out my perfect proportions of rice to liquid for a risotto but that is it, below. It is neither mushy nor tough; the sloppy, gloopy texture is just what a risotto should be like and it tastes fantastic. I will vote dried wild mushrooms the best risotto material because you get a double whammy of the mushroom pieces rehydrated in water and the soaking liquor which lends flavour to the rice.
Chicken risotto is probably the most popular kind (outside Italy I dare say) but, the carnivore that I am, I much prefer my risotto meatless. It’s a bit of too much, the rice, the Parmesan, the butter – and you really must not skimp on the last two – makes it a rich enough dish that any meat added would be surplus. Seafood, I’ll concede, is light enough but chicken is a no-no.
And I love risotto on its own. It’s dinner enough, add green salad if you must. That is not the only reason I make huge amounts of it but also the best part of a risotto experience comes in the following days: making arancini.