When it comes to gastronomy and identity, every culture has its particular way of showing its history, values, traditions, beliefs, through its food. There are so many dishes and recipes around the world, yet you can recognize where people come from just by knowing the food they eat.
Even though the dishes, ingredients, and recipes vary from country to country, there are foods that are so distinguished, noble, and versatile that they can’t be stopped by any border. Rice is one example.
Rice has become one of the most popular staples in the human diet. The number of rice recipes, varieties, sizes, shapes, and colors make them a very attractive ingredient for any cuisine around the world.
Rice arrives in Italy
If there is a country that has been able to take advantage of rice versatility and has also created amazing and delicious dishes with their own touch, it is, with no doubt, Italy. Rice entered this country from the Middle East, around the eighth century, nearly the same time it reached Spain.
Rice first arrived in southern Italy, where it was widely cultivated in Naples and later spread throughout the country. For many years rice was used for medical purposes and to make desserts, and it was not until a few centuries after its arrival that one of the most delicious rice dishes, risotto, was born.
We all know about the delicious, iconic Italian pasta. Pasta-based dishes are an essential part of that country’s cuisine. If someone says “Italian food” you will surely think of pizzas, calzoni and spaghetti. However, those are not the only iconic meals.
From the fields of Italy to your table: Risotto
From now on you will not only think of the fantastic Italian risotto, but also all the other arborio rice recipes they can make.
Before telling you how to make your own Italian risotto at home, let’s dive a little deeper into their history.
For starters, risotto comes from the word riso, which means “rice” in Italian. The first risotto recipe is allegedly from 1773, but it was probably not called so, at least, not at that moment.
A hundred years later, many risotto recipes were already part of a great number of cookbooks from the time, proving to be a very common dish with many versions and variations, as it always happens with any rice or rice-based dish.
Since then, risotto has gained some fame and recognition throughout the world and has become the favorite dish of many.
Here you will find the recipe for a classic, tasty, and aromatic autumn first course, Risotto ai Funghi.
Risotto ai Funghi (mushroom risotto)
- 4 cups (1 liter) of chicken or vegetable broth.
- 1¼ cup (300 grams) of arborio rice.
- 14 oz. (400 grams) of mushrooms.
- 5 oz. (150 grams) of fungi.
- 4 oz. (125 grams) of Parmesan cheese.
- 1 cup (200 ml) of cooking cream.
- 2 tbsp of butter.
- 1 medium onion.
- 2 tbsp of olive oil.
- Fresh parsley or chives
- Ground black pepper to taste.
- Salt to taste.
- Heat the chicken or vegetable stock.
- Chop the onion into thin slices.
- In a mid-sized frying pan sauté the onion over medium heat with a little olive oil and butter.
- When the onion starts to become transparent, add the rice (one of the special varieties for risotto, arborio rice) and let it fry for a few minutes, stirring it so that it does not stick.
- Once the rice begins to brown, add the thinly sliced mushrooms and the fungi to the pan and pour the broth until the ingredients are fully covered.
- You must maintain a medium heat so that the rice absorbs the broth, without forgetting to stir often.
- When you observe that the broth is being consumed, you will add the cup of cream and you will add another little broth and you must repeat it until the rice is well cooked and creamy.
- Finish with a little chopped parsley or chives and grated Parmesan cheese on top.
- Serve hot and enjoy this creamy and flavorful risotto.
- If you want this risotto to be completely vegan, you may avoid the cooking cream and the butter (use a little more olive oil), and replace the Parmesan cheese with tofu-based Feta cheese.
In case you can’t get Arborio type rice, Carnaroli or any other long-grain white rice will be good as well.