How To Add The Final Ingredients To Risotto Without Ruining It

If you've ever made risotto, you know it's a labor of love that is totally worth taking the care and time to do correctly. It's a beautifully versatile dish with many variations and applications. You can keep it simple like our recipe for parmesan risotto or be more adventurous with something like our lobster risotto. However you choose to create your risotto, you should know that the difference between making or breaking your dish comes down to one step –  mantecare.

There isn't exactly a word in english for mantecare, it simply describes the process of finishing a dish with fat and vigorous stirring to create a perfectly creamy texture. For example, you can do this with regular cooked spaghetti by adding butter and a little pasta water and beating it to create a luscious quality. In this case, it's recommended that fat (like butter or cheese) be added to risotto off heat and then stirred to emulsify.

Use creamy ingredients over oil as the final touch

Not all fats are created equal, however. While you do need to finish your risotto with something like cheese or butter, it is not recommended that you use olive oil since this will result in a separated and greasy dish. Having said that, it is preferable to begin with olive oil. You can sauté your onion or shallot in olive oil before adding the arborio, especially when cooking seafood-based risottos.

Don't be afraid to get experimental with your finishing ingredients. Parmesan is a tried-and-true ingredient that lends itself to so many pairings — but why not try mascarpone or Gruyère for a cheesier flavor? It's important to note that if you use soft cheeses like mascarpone, you'll want to let them come to room temperature to avoid splitting when heated. There are plenty of finishing options and ways to serve risotto, and however you choose you can be sure that if you take these few simple steps it'll always be delicious.