Cascina Belvedere presents a selection of interesting information and news about the world of rice, that are chosen and collected with the same commitment and passion used for farming.
The best recipes with rice as protagonist, the explanation of the milling methods of this precious cereal many useful detailed information to know the world of rice.
A rice for everyone
A few varieties to satisfy everyone
Rice is a versatile food, endowed with specific characteristics that the scientific research and the industrial technique have enhanced by selecting the correct varieties for the different gastronomic uses and by milling them in the best way.
Italian rice is divided in four groups by law:
Riso Comune or Nano (Tondo - Round Rice), Riso Semifino (Medio - Medium Rice), Riso Fino and Riso Superfino (Lungo - Long Rice).
The Riso Comune or Nano is also called "Round", because of its small and round grains that quickly absorb water and seasonings and cook in a short time (12-13 minutes). This rice is therefore suitable for soups, but also for the preparation of fillings and mostly puddings. The ability of absorption and its rapidity in cooking make it vulnerable to overcook.
The Riso Medio is ideal for risotti and soups, the grain has to cook for a longer time (13-15 minutes), and maintains its own consistence. This rice could also be used for fillings, but it is surely the most proper as a side dish, for "Supplì" and also some typical dishes from the South of Italy, as the famous "Sartù".
The Riso Lungo cooks slowly and is used for the most popular recipes, from appetizers to salads, from main courses to risottis. The cooking time of this bigger, round, longer grains rice is longer than the average: it should be at least 14-16 minutes.
The industries that distribute Italian rice indicate the cooking time on the packaging. Besides the packet also explains the perfect way to use the different vaieties of rice, in order to introduce everyone to its use.
The art of risotto
The risotto can be considered a national dish of the Pianura Padana.
The traditional choice would be for the Carnaroli Rice.
The quantity depends on the number of table companions... and from their appetite!
An average of 80-100 grams per person is the standard.
Before starting the preparation, don't forget to have the tools to hand. A best pan exists in fact for every dish and the best risotto is cooked in a round, heavy based, 5 cm. high casserole, in order to maintain a homogeneous heat through the cooking.
The gently stirring of the risotto is obtained with a long handled wooden spoon (a specific one is the spoon with a central hole).
From the "soffritto" to the dish
Prepare the Carnaroli rice, oil, butter, onion and the ingredients for the chosen risotto, and proceed in the preparation of the "soffritto".
The soffritto helps the toasting of the grains which mantain their consistency and taste during the cooking. While the broth boils gently in a pot, melt te the oil and butter in the casserole, adding the thinly sliced onion, till it is soft and brown but not too dark.
Higher the heat at this point,add the rice and gently stir with the wooden spoon. As soon as the grains begin to toast and get clear, pour in some wine. Once the wine has evaporated and the grains loose their brilliant aspect, pour in the boiling broth , in small batches, stirring gently and lowering the heat.
From now on the heat should be kept low, in order to simmer the risotto, which should be kept covered with broth.
Although risotto is said to require continuous stirring, it does not. To obtain a very nice risotto it is sufficient to stir the mix every 2-3 minutes, in order to uniform the heat and the ingredients, by checking that it does not adhere to the pan.
The sign that the cooking is proceeding well is that a creamy liquid forms in the risotto when the starch detaches from the grain. Once the broth has been absorbed, about 16 minutes from the beginning of the cooking, the "mantecatura" is done, and the well separated grains mix together.The risotto is still runny (ìall'ondaî), when the flame should be extinguished and some grated Parmigiano cheese and a knob of butter mixed into the risotto.
The risotto could rest for a little while and it still cooks with the heat from the pan.
For this reason it should be removed from the heat when still "al dente", firm to the bite.
In order to adapt the cooking times, although the recipes on the packaging indicate them, the tasting test is the best: the correct consistency of the risotto is achieved once that a spoon of mix poured on the plate sets without running.
The risotto still cooks while it is resting, thanks to the heat of the casserole.