Geoffrey Zakarian's 10 Top Tips for Making Pro-Level Risotto

Stick with the host's simple how-tos to guarantee rich, creamy results.

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Geoffrey's Risotto Expertise

This professional chef knows the secrets to turning out restaurant-quality risotto, and he's sharing the details with all of us. Check out his tips on the following slides, and get his recipe below.

Get the Recipe: Grilled Corn Risotto

Start Simple

If you’re new to cooking risotto, stick with a basic recipe featuring chicken stock, cheese and olive oil.

Remember Surface Area

Opt for a pan that offers enough surface area to cook the rice. Whether you use a large skillet or a deep pot, just be sure there’s ample space for the rice to meet the heat.

About the Wine

After adding the wine to the rice, it’s important to let it reduce. As for picking which bottle to cook with, Geoffrey says, “If you don’t want to drink it, don’t use it.”

Heat Matters

It’s best to start with hot stock — the type (chicken, mushroom, vegetable or otherwise) isn’t important, as the heat will maintain the starch content of the rice.

Think Generally

There’s no need to use precise measurements when adding the stock. Just make sure there’s enough in the pan to completely cover the rice.

Take It Easy

“It’s a peaceful, gentle little simmer,” Geoffrey says of the ideal heat level. Avoid extremely high flames and rapid boils.

About Time

Risotto should cook for around 17 1/2 minutes, depending on how much you’re making. Be sure not to overcook it, as you may end up with gummy rice.

Important Additions

Wait until the end of cooking to add prepared vegetables. Doing so any earlier may make it difficult to stir and properly cook the rice.

Remember Moderation

Instead of serving heaping portions of risotto in a bowl, opt for moderate scoops on a warm, flat plate; the smaller servings will allow you to eat another course after the risotto, while the heated plate will help keep the rice warm longer.

Safe from the Stick

You can avoid a sticky final product by making sure that you don’t mix in an excessive amount of cheese before serving and don’t overcook it.

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