Risotto is an icon of northern Italian cuisine, stemming from the Mediterranean climate’s suitability for growing short-grain rice after it was introduced to the country in the Middle Ages. The rice used for a risotto should be semi-rounded, short-grain Italian rice; attributes perfectly suited to slow cooking, enabling the grains to slowly absorb the flavour of the liquid and release starch to create the classic silky smooth texture. Risotto rice is divided into four categories based on the length of the grain: commune, semifino, fino and superfino. Superfino is the longest of the four, and the most commonly used for risotto. Arborio rice, a superfino variety, is the most commonly used outside of Italy, while Carnaroli, Vialone Nano and Baldo are all routinely popular varieties used to create this quintessential Italian dish.
This collection of delicious risotto recipes includes secrets and tips from some of Italy’s best chefs. Francesco Sposito uses Vialone Nano rice to create his citrus-infused seafood risotto of Vialone Nano risotto creamed with lemon jam, raw prawns, clams and Bronte pistachio oil, while Emanuele Scarello adds drama to the dinner table with his striking Risotto with sabayon sauce, licorice powder and green asparagus, which is caramelized with a blowtorch just before serving . At the other end of the spectrum, Rosanna Marziale’s Risotto San Marzano recipe uses soft, white mozzarella to create a deliciously creamy risotto, while the Costardi Brothers’ Risotto with garlic and chilli recipe makes a fantastically simple vegetarian dish.