Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Rice and Risotto

From: How To Read a French Fry

*Use the right rice for the job. Long-grain rices, such as commercial white rice, will be light and separate when cooked. Short-and medium-grain rices, such as those used for risotto and paella, will be creamy and sticky

*When using long-grain rice, always rinse it well under running water before cooking it. This does remove a very small amount of nutrients, but it also washes away a lot of excess surface starch that can make the rice clump

*When long-grain rice is cooked, set it aside off the heat but still covered for 5 minutes. This will allow the surface of the grains to harden, making them even more separate.

*Gently fluff cooked long-grain rice with a fork, but avoid stirring it, which can bruise the grains and release the sticky starch.

*If you are going to cook rice again (as for fried rice), boil it in advance and refrigerate until cold so it will remain firm and separate after the second cooking.

*To keep rice salads from being sticky and starchy, cook the rice as you would dried pasta-in plenty of rapidly boiling salted water. When you drain it, any free will wash off with the water, rather than stick to the rice.

*Dress rice salads while they are still warm so that the rice will absorb some of the flavorings before the outer starch shells of the grains harden. Bring refrigerated rice salads to room temperature before serving to return some of the tenderness lost during chilling.

*For risottos and pilafs, saute the rice in fat, with any flavorings, until the grains turn opalescent or pearly on the outside before adding liquid. This will set the exterior shell of the grains and help to keep them separate.

*For risottos, add the liquid a little at a time, stirring constantly. This technique releases as much starch as possible into the liquid, resulting in creamy rice.

*When making risotto, use a fairly weak broth in order to avoid covering up the flavor of the rice and the featured ingredient. Or, to emphasize the main flavor, strengthen the broth with peelings and trimmings from the featured ingredient.

*Finish risottos by beating in some butter or grated cheese. Do so vigorously in order to release as much starch as possible and produce the creamiest risotto.

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