Don't Wait Until The End Of The Cooking Process To Add Salt To Risotto

Risotto is often said to be a challenging dish to make correctly. It is no secret that cooking perfectly creamy risotto requires patience, attention, and a strong stirring arm. In the pursuit of checking such boxes, however, you may forget one of the most important tenets of the kitchen: seasoning. If you want to serve up a risotto that not only has a velvety texture but also an irresistible flavor, be sure you are salting it from the very start of the cooking process.

When cooking food in liquid — whether you are boiling green beans or simmering a serving of pasta — that time is an opportunity for the solids in the pot to absorb the flavors of the liquid they are being cooked in. The longer the solids have to soak, the more deeply these flavors will penetrate them. In the case of risotto, adding salt to the pot early on gives the seasoning the most possible time to impart its taste to each grain of rice, resulting in a full-flavored dish rather than the bland bite that results from salt simply sitting on the surface of the rice.

Remember to account for other ingredients

Now that you know when to begin salting your risotto, you are probably wondering how much to add as well. The answer? It depends. You will be adding many other ingredients to your dish as you cook, and these ingredients may have high salt contents of their own. We recommend taking stock of your recipe and accounting for the saltiness of each ingredient before you begin. For example, if you are using low-sodium broth, you may want to add extra salt to balance the diminished flavor; however, if you are finishing off your dish with something like a salty cheese — such as in this parmesan risotto — you may want to cut back. Tasting as you go will also help to mitigate the risk of over or under-salting.

If you end up having oversalted your risotto, you needn't be discouraged. Simply add unsalted veggies, unsalted stock, vinegar, or lemon or lime juice. This will restore balance to the recipe and you will be back on track.