Christina Wilson's Best Advice On Making A Gordon Ramsay-Approved Risotto - Exclusive

Find yourself making risotto for the Red Team on "Hell's Kitchen," and Christina Wilson's advice is going to be wildly different than if you're doing it at home. Yes, "Hell's Kitchen" has a bunch of professional kitchen appliances and you don't. But making risotto in it? That's rocket science, thanks to the "Gordon Ramsay factor." During a dinner service, "it's about tasting [your risotto] the whole way through," Ramsay's Red Team sous chef Christina Wilson exclusively told Tasting Table. "The more [Ramsay] pushes, people get frantic. It's hard. I've been in their shoes."

Translation? If you've learned to say no to a stressed-out Gordon Ramsay, you're probably well on your way to enlightenment. No big surprise that the "Hell's Kitchen" contestants often can't — they are, after all, chefs and not Buddha's prodigies. Their inability to do so, however, leads to the unforgivable. Take, for example, Season 21's Blue Team, which Ramsay banished after they sent out undercooked chicken

And then there's the fact that risotto seldom goes as planned. "People want to please [Ramsay] so badly, like, 'Okay, Chef. Fine. Two minutes,' and there's no chance that's going to be done in two minutes." Wilson cautioned. "You have to know your product and stand true to the times that you're calling and have the patience. It's much better to do it right one time and take the extra few minutes."

Time may be the key to a competition-ready risotto, but Wilson has other tricks up her sleeve for when Ramsay isn't setting your kitchen timer.

The risotto-making technique you've been missing

Christina Wilson gave Tasting Table the key to making a risotto "without Gordon in your kitchen yelling at you," one that would still be worthy of Gordon Ramsay's most sumptuous "Hell's Kitchen" rewards. Think a risotto worth a spa day or racing around a track in a muscle car.

"One of the things that's super helpful is to toast the rice first," Ramsay's VP of Culinary in North America advised. "Start with a dry pan. Let it get warm on medium-low heat and put your rice in there. You don't want it to turn brown; you want it to be warm to the touch. You have to move it around a bit. That's going to help draw some of the starch out." Voila! Your risotto will get creamy without adding dairy products to it.

Pro tip number two? When cooking risotto, never use metal spoons. Go rubber or wood. Those materials, said Wilson, "won't conduct heat" or "break your rice." She also suggested substituting red onion for shallot. "I'll put about a tablespoon of shallot into a dry pan and let it sweat out. ... You don't want to brown them at all," the chef advised. "De-glaze with white wine. Let all the alcohol evaporate, and then start feeding in whatever stock you're using." 

Finally, said Wilson, while "you shouldn't ever add heavy cream or anything like that" to finish the dish, mascarpone is magic. "I like that instead of butter," the chef told Tasting Table. "It gives it [a] nice, glossy, silky look and mouth feel and then gives you a little extra fat in there to help bind everything together."

Catch Christina Wilson on the latest episode of "Hell's Kitchen" Season 21, tonight at 8 p.m. ET on Fox.