I like making risotto. I like the fact that you can’t walk away (whatever Delia tells you) but must stand patiently at the stove for around twenty minutes, adding small ladles of hot stock and massaging it into the rice before adding some more. It gives you time to think. As all around you life moves at its usual pace, you’re in a time slip where everything goes by slowly. A bit like one of those speeded up films with music by Philip Glass, sunrise, sunset, sunrise etc.
I love leftover risotto for my lunch the next day and will often barefacedly lie to the family when they ask for seconds by saying there is no more when in fact there is. And I like taking cold risotto, shaping it into a small ball, poking a piece of mozzarella inside, coating the ball with breadcrumbs and deep frying it. The mozzarella makes great strings when you eat it, hence the Italians calling it ‘on the telephone’ as it resembles the looping ‘phone lines of Rome.
You need good rice though and it has of course to be the round grain type, not long grain or basmati which don’t break down the same way at all.
Gallo make good rice, I buy it myself although I do also buy basic arborio risotto rice by the Kilo from the big sack in the local deli. It’s cheap!
Riso Gallo comes in three varieties,. Carnaroli is known as the ‘King of Italian Rices” and is the preferred choice of top chefs. A balanced consistency of creaminess and firmness. Vialone Nano, a favourite among Venetians, is ideal for very creamy risottos due to its particularly stubby grain. This is a good choice for fish dishes. Arborio is the most well known risotto rice and perfect for vegetable based risotto.
Gallo’s website is full of ideas