Starting the Rice for Mushroom Risotto

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 13,250
    Chef Salvatore Ambrosino demonstrates how to make mushroom risotto, including how to start the rice.

    Salvatore Ambrosino

    Salvatore Ambrosino is a graduate of the French Culinary Institute in New York City. Sal is the chef and owner (along with his two brothers) of Pomodoro Pasta, Pizza and More in Fairfax, Virginia. Born in Italy and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Sal specializes in rustic Italian dishes. He loves interacting with the people in his restaurant and, of course, cooking.

    Hi, I am Sam, the chef of Pomodoro in Fairfax. We just finished our mushrooms. Now, we are going to start on our rice. What I want to show you before we do that is that we are bringing our stock to a boil, thats what we are looking for.

    Now, we do this thing, we just want to make it hot. So, what we are going to do is shut off the flame, and we are going to set aside, but close enough, so, we could still use it for the rice, as I'll show you as we go along rice over here. Our next step is, we are not going to make the pan as hot as we did for the mushrooms, because right now we are just, we are doing something with the onions which is called sweating, in that you dont want a high heat, we dont want any color on the onions, we just want to make them translucent. So, what we are going to do is turn on the fire. Same thing again, heavy bottom pot, and that can help, I mean the guys drink in the kitchen, right? So, we got our heavy bottom pot, so we dont want it too hot, so, we are going to control the heat. As we go along, we see it starts sizzling, thats what we dont want. So, what we are going to do again, is two tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil in the pan, we get a couple of tablespoons of that unsalted butter that we have, just leave it right in there. So, basically if you -- when it's warm, it's right. So, thats our diced onions that we did together, just going to add it. So, thats what we are looking for, just a little thing. Now, we are going to get to our trusty spoon, and I'll explain to you why we use a wooden spoon, and we dont use a steel spoon, or tongs, steel tongs. Theres a reason why we use a wooden spoon. I'll explain to you, actually I'll explain it to you now. Obviously, risotto is an item that you stir constantly, and you stir a lot, but before I do that on lower heat, because I dont want color. So, as soon as it starts to sweat, the onions, we call sweating, just to make them translucent. Well get our clove of garlic that we crushed, and we are going to add it to the dish, because now, we are just looking to take the flavor from the garlic. Nothing more than that. So, on a light heat, just medium heat, we are going to stir. The reason why we use a wooden spoon is, because you dont want to scrape the pan, because food has a funny thing, it takes on textures, smells and colors very easily. So, when I -- if I am using steel, and I am scrubbing the pan, it's going to take on the -- the food is going to take on the flavor of that metallic flavor. We dont want that. Thats the reason why we use a wooden spoon. Thats the rule one of risotto. I am telling you a big, big, secret now, which nobody tells you, and here we go.

    So, basically we are just sweating the onions a little bit. So, we are going to do that for about two more minutes. We are going to let the garlic go and let it reseal its oils and flavor. Once thats done, we are actually going to remove the garlic, because I dont like garlic in my food. I love the taste of it but I dont want to see it, I dont want to mix it, I dont want it in my food. Thats me personally.

    Thats done. We take our spoon and put it set aside. Now, we can use our tong to remove our garlic. Now, we are going to take our two cups of rice, our trusty wooden spoon, and we are going to throw away from us, into the pan. Stir it constantly for about two minutes. All that we are doing is, right now we are giving the rice a little texture. We are building in like a wall, you can say on the rice, because we want it mushy. We just want to give a little seal to it. We are going to stir constantly, because if you, this is not like the mushrooms. You dont want to let it sit too long and give it too much color, and brown it because then you lose all the flavor. Approximately about two minutes, nothing more. Next step is we are going to take our trusty wine, turn up the heat a little bit; we are going to add about two ounces. We are going to do something called deglaze the pan, and we are going to reduce the alcohol in the wine, by reducing it by half. Set that side and stir. Pretty much as when the rice absorbs the wine, it's pretty much reduced and thats been taking care of. It should take about a minute, no long, because actually it should take only a minute, because the pan I am using it's a white pan, and it kind of helps a lot. Next step is we are going to add our warm stock. Remember the one we talked about that we set aside, and the reason why it's warm is, because the pan is hot, the rice is hot, and we dont want to start with a cold stock. We want to start with a warm stock, and thats the reason why we are starting with the warm stock. We are going to add about -- the rule of risotto is three to one. If you have a cup of rice, you want to add three cups of stock. Basic rule, so, we are going to add a third at a time. So, right now, we are going to add a third of our stock. Thats going to be about two ladles. We are going to stir constantly until it absorbs all the stock. Stir and stir. Always on a medium heat, we dont want this done on a high heat. Pretty basic, pretty easy. For now, thats pretty much it. So, in the next step, we are going to add our stock.