The Mixing Mistake That's Destroying Your Risotto

There are many mistakes you can make when it comes to cooking risotto. You could use the wrong rice, add ingredients too early (or too late), not let the rice rest long enough after cooking, or forget the wine. The list is practically endless. But there is one mishap that can really destroy your risotto, and that is over-mixing.

While you may have been under the assumption that you were supposed to mix risotto the whole time it's cooking, that is incorrect. Although a certain amount of mixing is required to cook risotto, over-mixing will yield a lumpy, clumpy mess. But doesn't the mixing activate the starches in the rice? Yes, but if you mix too much, the starches will actually start to cook off and cause your rice to become sticky. So, if you can't over-mix the risotto, nor can you under-mix it, how much stirring is needed to attain the creamy texture you're hoping for?

The stirring sweet spot

Provided you've done all of the prior steps properly, the final stages of cooking risotto are really very easy. Find the spot on your stove where the broth and rice are somewhere between simmering and boiling, and stir the rice about once every 30 seconds. This will allow the cooking process to actually work because as the rice is cooking, it is moving around and releasing its starch within the broth. A gentle stir here and there helps move things along, without overdoing things.

It's a rather simple trick to get the hang of once you have a few risottos under your belt. You'll be able to tell when the rice has gone too dry and when to add more both, and what exact setting on your stove gives you that medium bubble. So just sit back a little bit and relax. You don't need to sir your risotto until your arm goes numb.