Risotto is a typical Italian dish based on rice.
It is a hearty, warming dish, rich with the flavours of the broth used in its making.
To create an authentic creamy Italian risotto, the use of specialist rice is imperative. It comes in various forms and is usually very pale in color, stubby and smooth in texture. Grains range in length from commune to semifino, fino and superfino, which is the longest.
Unlike other rice that is left in a pan of water to boil, risotto rice requires constant attention to ensure a perfectly finished dish. The rice is not to be pre-rinsed, boiled, or drained, as washing would remove much of the starch required for a creamy texture.
Risotto in Italy is normally a first course served before the main course, but risotto alla milanese is often served with ossobuco alla milanese as a main course.
Originally, it comes from northern Italy.
Rice has been grown in southern Italy since the 14th century, and its cultivation eventually reached the north.
From its early use, rice has evolved into a culinary tradition that has come to include the very fine risotto.
The term “risotto” has two possible derivations: some say it came from an exclamation of Frederick Barbarossa, who praised a “Risum optimum”; others maintain it derived from a term used by the Insubres, the Celts that inhabited Lombardy, “risott.” At the end of the 18th century, the term is first found in a household book by Antonio Albertazzi, a lawyer living in the Val d’Ossola, in northern Piedmont.
According to a legend, a young glassblower’s apprentice from Flanders, who used to use saffron as a pigment, added it to a rice dish at a wedding feast, the first recipe identifiable as risotto dates from 1809.
There is a recipe for a dish named as a risotto in the 1854 Trattato di cucina (‘Treatise on Cooking’) by Giovanni Vialardi, assistant chief chef to kings.
The rice varieties now associated with risotto were developed in the 20th century, starting with Maratelli in 1914.
Today, the dish is served extensively, almost unchanged, in the kitchens and restaurants of the world.
The world´s largest serving of risotto weighing 7.51 tonnes (16.556.69 lb) was made by the Ricegrowers’ Association of Australia and displayed at First Fleet Park, Circular Quay, Sydney, Australia on 26 November 2004.