How do I make the creamiest risotto?

March 31, 2014 | By | Comments (2)

A quick rinse of the rice makes all the difference. Part of risotto’s wonderful flavor comes from toasting the dry rice in fat before adding the liquid, giving it a distinct nutty aroma. But toasting destroys some of the rice’s starch, resulting in a less creamy finished product.

risotto-rinseHere’s a trick: If you rinse the rice in stock and drain it before toasting, the excess starch ends up in the cooking liquid as opposed to on the rice. This allows you to fully toast the rice without affecting the thickening power of the starch, which subsequently gets added back to the pot along with the liquid. I also found that with this method, constant stirring isn’t necessary.

What I do is place 1 1/2 cups of Arborio rice in a bow with a quart of chicken stock and a cup of white wine, agitating the rice with a whisk for about 15 seconds to release the starch before draining over another bowl, reserving the starchy liquid.

After toasting the rice in a tablespoon of olive oil just until it begins to smell nutty, I’ll add some garlic, followed by all of the starchy stock, save one cup. I bring the liquid to a boil, give the rice one quick stir, cover, and reduce the heat to low. I cook the rice for 20 minutes, giving it a quick stir halfway through. Just before serving, I add the final cup of stock, along with a touch of cream and grated cheese.

The result? Toastier, more flavorful risotto that can go from pantry to table in less than 30 minutes with just a couple of stirs.KenjiRisotto

Kenji Lopez-Alt is the chief creative officer of Serious Eats, where he writes The Food Lab, unraveling the science of home cooking. 


  1. aron

    actually… the toasting of the kernal pregelatinizes the surface of the rice so during reduction and release the water bond with the released surface of the kernal is stable. The result is a much creamier, much more interesting texture. Where toasting fails, is in the traditional carmelizing of the onion prior to addition of rice. Buy incorporating moisture too soon the kernal absorbs water too soon conflicting with the pregeling of the starches. So try this technique… toast the rice, then add the onion. You’ll watch the onion come in contact with an increased heated surface area causing not just rapid carmelization, but the absorbtion of all the delicious onion flavor. The remaining steps are the normal addition of the wine, then adding the hot stock and reducing in steps to allow for release.

    June 8, 2015 at 8:48 pm
  2. Easy Creamy Risotto with No Stirring!! | Morovino Winery

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    April 4, 2014 at 4:46 pm

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