Risotto, the short, plump grains of Arborio rice that are slowly simmered in hot liquid until they reach a rich, creamy texture, is rice in its most glorious and magnificent form. An elegant, healthful and sophisticated dish, risotto is a wonderful and satisfying change of pace from your run-of-the-mill rice dishes. And as the rest of the world discovers what Italians have known for centuries, we can all enjoy this versatile and sumptuous dish as an appetizer, side dish or as the centerpiece of a meal.
While risotto may not strictly be pasta, we can all agree that it is strictly delicious. Noted food author and writer Kristine Kidd demonstrates Arborio's tantalizing possibilities in Risotto (Time-Life Books; September 1996; $18.95/hardcover), a new release from the Williams-Sonoma Pasta Collection. Risotto is an inspired collection of 50 recipes that range from risotto in its simplest form to a dish which can be easily enhanced with fresh herbs, seasonal vegetables, meat or seafood.
First courses such as Porcini, Caramelized Onions and Sage Risotto celebrate the earthiness of Italy's beloved porcini mushrooms, while Red and Yellow Belt Pepper Risotto with Fontina Cheese makes an excellent starter for a main course of roast chicken. Autumn is a perfect time to welcome a side dish with the colors and flavors of Butternut Squash, Sage and Hazelnut Risotto. Sicilian flavors dominate the robust Garlic Risotto with Swordfish Topping, and Shrimp and Broccoli with Saffron Risotto is an intensely flavored main dish. And Arborio and maple syrup provide the basis for the comforting and simple dessert Old-Fashioned Rice Pudding with Raisins.
Risotto features a step-by-step guide to cooking basic risotto, making it easy to master this legendary dish. A guide to cheeses, herbs and spices rounds out a volume that demonstrates that any home cook can become a risotto expert.
If you can't find Gorgonzola, substitute Danish blue or another blue-veined cheese. For another effect, the tomato topping may also be stirred into the risotto just before serving.
Calories—321 (Kilojoules 1,348)
Total Fat—13 g
Saturated Fat—4 g
Dietary Fiber—2 g
General Editor: Chuck Williams
Recipes by Kristine Kidd
Photographs by Joyce Oudkerk Pool
from the Williams-Sonoma Pasta Collection
September 1, 1996;
Reprinted with permission.