Tuesday, May 20, 2008

On Risotto And The Old Virtue Of Patience

Italian cuisine is chiefly popular for pasta and pizza. Nothing wrong with either one, of course, but I have a dream: that at some point in time risotto will be added to the short list of remarkable italian dishes. Risotto was, with Polenta, the staple food for northern italians, when life was slow and deep. It still reigns amidst the splendors of Northern Italian Cuisine, as a polymorphic and finely dressed little prince...
I have another, more self-centered dream: that, once I have defeated my despicable indolence, I will become a Master in the Noble Art of Risotto Making.
Well, Master I am certainly not, at least not yet. I have started my apprenticeship, though, and I want to share with you the basic secret: the single most important ingredient in Risotto (aside good Arborio rice) is the old Virtue of Patience.
You must stir, continuously, slowly, at a moderate fire regime. Risotto is unforgiving: too much fire, too much hurry, and you''ll end up with a heinous magma.
There is, to be sure, a true alchemy at work here: the action of fire has to take its dutiful place, a fire nurturing the gastronomical miracle.
Epicureans et savants, to the stove!
PS Do not save on the wine. A risotto deserves the very best there is.
PPS. There are plenty of good resources on risottos (try here, for a starter). Keep in mind that the basic recipe is deceptively simple, but the variations endless.


andrew said...

I had the urge yesterday to set aside a month to go through a recipe book and force myself to make something from it every single night. By the time the month was over, maybe I could finally consider myself a passable cook.

Polymathicus said...

I think it is a fabulous idea!!!

Cooking is a very important skill to have under one's belt, and I have the same urge now: a month well spent.

PS Risottos are of course not the only option, but it is a good one.

Sunflower said...

Polymathicus, I look forward to sampling your risotto one day.

Polymathicus said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Aobliquo said...

C'è anche da far presto, chè non abbia a scuocersi!

Anonymous said...

Polymathicus, my friend, I would finish this excellent dinner with a delicious tiramisu.