Risotto is a versatile rice dish with an interesting history. It's nutritious and can be prepared to suit any taste. Known as a staple in the Italian diet, risotto has become a popular food worldwide. This delicious dish can be prepared with a variety of ingredients, including cuttlefish ink, quail and truffles.
The story of risotto began in the 14th century B.C., when the Arabs brought rice to Sicily and Spain during their rule. Italy was the ideal place to grow short-grain rice due to the humid weather and abundant flat land. As a result, rice became a main part of Italian food culture.
Valerius, a young apprentice, is believed to be the creator of risotto. In 1574, he was put in charge of making the stained-glass window that was to adorn the Cathedral Duomo Di Milano. While he worked, many of the townspeople made fun of him, giving credit to the herb saffron for the beautiful colors showcased in his artwork. As a result, Valerius became angry and devised a plan of retaliation. During his master's wedding, he added an excessive amount of saffron to the rice being served as the main dish. He hoped his action would ruin the festivities, but instead the rice received great reviews, launching risotto into culinary fame.
Risotto is a simple rice dish that usually is served as either an appetizer or a main course. It has four basic ingredients: sauteed vegetables, known as "soffritto"; broth; flavoring; and Italian rice. It can be served using any of a wide array of ingredients, including, but not limited to, specialty herbs, seasonal fish and various meats.
Italian rice is the only kind of rice used to make risotto. Arborio, a large grain superfino rice, is the preferred choice because of its ability to absorb the liquid without overcooking. Vialone Nano, also used to prepare risotto, is a small-grain semifino rice that is very popular in Veneto. Carnaroli and Baldo, both semifino rices, are traditionally used when preparing risotto with bold flavorings and condiments.
Risotto is a simple dish to prepare. Before you begin cooking, it is important not to wash the rice because its starch is what helps risotto maintain its traditional look and feel. The rice is placed in a frying pan, along with the desired vegetables, and toasted lightly. Broth or wine is poured into the pan and allowed to soak into the rice while the mixture cooks over a low flame. The risotto is ready to be served when its texture is thick and creamy. According to Annamariavolpi.com, risotto might have come from trying to find a way to make rice more like porridge.
One of Italy's most famous dishes is Risotto alla Milanese. In Po Valley, where the bulk of Italian rice grows, risotto usually is preferred as the first course over pasta. In Venice and Veneto, risotto with sauteed eels is served as a traditional Christmas meal.