Sunday, June 20

Can we still love risotto, which has suffered so much mistreatment in restaurants?

AThave we ever needed creamy comfort, invigorating sweetness, consoling waves? There is a recipe that lends itself to this in these confined times, especially since it must be the subject, for many gourmets, of a work of gustatory reconciliation.

The opportunity is unexpected to reconnect with risotto, an emblematic specialty of the rice-growing regions of northern Italy, which swept over French menu cards at the turn of the 2000s before being little by little shunned, denigrated, neglected, in particular for the benefit of chirashis, bibimbaps and a whole variety of sautéed rice with more exotic flavors.

Beyond the Asian fad, the gradual disavowal of risotto is partly linked to the mediocrity of treatment inflicted on it on this side of the Alps. Rarely have we seen a dish so roughed up in unscrupulous pseudo-trendy restaurants, or by amateur cooks in a hurry to send the broth, fans of robotic and connected cuisine too happy to entrust the task to their purring machines. Obscure shapeless mash, insipid swamp studded with drifting grains, agglutinated and compact porridge reminiscent of the sad portions of rice from sushi menus… in addition to their common etymology, risotto rhymes, alas, too often with fiasco.

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However, without claiming to match the cream of Italian or French chefs, it is tempting to compete with them in the field of risotto. Because “It is not at the restaurant that we eat the best”, proclaims with confidence Laura Zavan, cook from Veneto and author of two books on the subject. “Risotto blocks a cooking piano for twenty minutes and complicates the service if the whole table is not on the same menu. Most often, it is overcooked, or too raw, or bound with cream… ” The Italian tells the story of her experience in a Michelin-starred establishment where the still raw grains of rice made the dish strictly inedible …

Avoiding over-cooking does not guarantee the success of the operation! While the closure of restaurants is desperately prolonged, it is certainly not the “click and collect” system, inducing random reheating at home, which offers a chance to taste the best risotto … So, a little nerve: we has bad memories to erase, time to kill, hungry people to sustain, a furious desire to stir (effective for relaxing), fourfold reason to get started!

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