Mastering the creamy decadence of this grain-based dish is easy with a few simple techniques.
Making risotto involves the slow addition of liquid and frequent stirring to coax the starch from the rice. This creates a luscious sauce that envelops the grain and carries the flavor. Risottos are classically made with medium-grain Arborio rice, but many other grains yield terrific results. Barley, steel-cut oats, quinoa, and bulgur benefit greatly from this cooking method. Like Arborio rice, these grains contain lots of easily released starch that provides characteristic creaminess. No amount of stirring, however, will bring creaminess to grains that lack starch, such as basmati rice.