expats · food · multicultural families

Risotto is the word

Who doesn’t love a good risotto? Even though most people associate it with sopraffine cuisine, risotto is a pretty darn simple dish to cook at home, kids love it, and it’s a great way to conceal healthy food. This post does not aim to teach how to make the perfect risotto, but a feasible, quick, fair one. I hope that after reading this post, you’ll make risotto a regular dish in your family diet and you’ll be able to make up new combinations of taste!

The rice

Not every rice works well for risotto, so don’t go random on this. If you use porridge rice, you’ll end up with a disgusting cream. It’s very easy to find the right rices to cook risotto in Finland, even in smaller shops. The best quality rices for the purpose are “Carnaroli” and “Vialone”. A cheaper and fair option is “Arborio”. As for dosage, I suggest 90 g for adults and 40 g for small kids.

The basic preparation

Let me summarise here how the basic preparation of risotto works.
1. Prepare the main “dressing” aside, either in the pot you’ll use for risotto or in a separate one (depends on the ingredients and how they are cooked).
2. Throw rice in some olive oil and add white wine (recommended but not compulsory. Don’t worry: all alcohol evaporates).
3. Add boiling vegetable stock little by little, to slowly cook the rice.
4. At some point (depending on the ingredients) add the dressing.
5. Take away from stove, add some butter and parmesan, mix and serve.
If you want to do things by the book, you’ll make the stock yourself from scratch. If you don’t – like myself – use a stock cube. I usually buy these organic cubes at the shop and I feel they have a good taste.

An example: pumpkin risotto

I will now illustrate an example recipe, to get you going. Overall, this takes about half an hour.
Ingredients for 2 adult portions
180 g of risotto rice
1 glass of white wine (optional)
350 g of pumpkin
1 small onion
approx. 600 ml of vegetable stock
a knob of butter
4 spoons of grated parmesan cheese (optional)
salt and pepper
Get the stock to boil aside. Cut the pumpkin into small cubes (or bigger, if you plan to smash them later) and cook it soft aside. Chop the onion finely and cook it until soft in a pot, then add the rice. Mix quickly for 1-2 minutes, then throw in the wine. When the wine has evaporated, add as much hot stock as to just cover the rice. When the level of the stock goes down, you can add a little more. After about 10 minutes, make sure you taste frequently to know when it’s time to let it cook until drier. The rice needs to be soft but still compact. Add the pumpkin cubes a little before the rice is ready. With kids, I prefer to put the cooked pumpkin into a mixer and add it smashed. When the preparation is finished, take away from the stove, add butter and parmesan, and mix.

Other ideas

Risotto is one of my tricks to hide vegetables, like pumpkin. Here’s a list of some simple risottos you can try.
Risotto with spinach: similar to the pumpkin recipe, just boil spinach separately. I strongly suggest to chop them finely into a mixer. You can also add soft cheese instead of parmesan to make it more yummy.
Risotto al pomodoro (tomato sauce): follow the recipe above, but add some tomato sauce along with the stock.
Risotto with mushrooms: again, just the same: cook the mushrooms aside.

If you try it, let me know how it went in the comments. Buon appetito!

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11 thoughts on “Risotto is the word

  1. How much is 40, 90 and 180 g of rice? Like, in dls (deciliters), because who the hell can be bothered to weigh ingredients that you absolutely don’t have to? It’s about ten times easier to use the 1 dl or 5 dl measures for most things. (Finnish butter and baking margarine packets even have lines for 25g or 50 g increments in the wrapper so you can just eyeball the amounts.)

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      1. Yeah, I know people do these things, but it’s essentially a pointless complication to achieve precision you don’t need. Especially home economy teachers, etc. like to remind that volume measurements are unreliable, but realistically you might at most manage a 10% difference to the mean. If your recipes can’t handle that, your problem isn’t measurements, except in the most exceptional circumstances.

        Liked by 1 person

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