Why It's Perfectly Okay To Cook Risotto In Water

There are specific rules that home cooks and chefs swear by to make the perfect risotto. For example, an ideal risotto must be velvety in texture, the rice must not clump into a sticky mass, and the broth must flavor the grains themselves. So, as pasta water must be salted, the arborio rice in a risotto must be cooked in a broth or a stock. But by the rules of our own tongues, we find out that these guidelines are simply suggestions and should be taken as such. Maybe a risotto doesn't have to be covered in parmesan shavings to taste good. Maybe a simple crack of black pepper or a squeeze of lemon will suffice.

Like all dishes, risotto has room for growth and experimentation. So comes the outrageous act of cooking our risotto rice in a base of water. Why is that ever okay? Shouldn't one season their food, a motto that has become ubiquitous in Internet food culture? Well, PureWow states that water is the best substitute for chicken stock in any dish.

Sometimes, simplicity is best

When you boil your risotto in water, you are doing two things: Reducing salt content and flavor and making room for other ingredients to shine through. These two effects work with one another in a harmonious way. When you have a pure base of cooked arborio rice, you get to season your risotto more accurately. While chicken stock is the foundation for plenty of soups and sauces, it can overpower the risotto. If you're a fan of chicken-flavored risotto, go ahead. But nobody has to use chicken or beef stock.

Sometimes simplicity in a dish is perfectly fine and even preferred. If you're adding lemon zest, herbs, or parmesan to your risotto, you can make these flavors shine through on their own. A lemon-forward risotto can be a refreshing take on the otherwise heavy, starchy dish. You can push the boundaries of culinary tradition further and use a different type of grain for your risotto, like farro, buckwheat, or brown rice, Carlos Calderon tells Self. Calderon also says barley yields the closest texture to arborio rice, which is a healthier whole-grain alternative. In the end, you are the one eating your food, and anything goes. Add whatever you want as long as it makes sense to what you want your risotto to taste like. For a creamier risotto, you can even add mascarpone cheese, which adds a slightly tart flavor.