Ina Garten's Secret Ingredient To Add A Kick To Risotto

Risotto is a creamy Italian dish that requires little time to prepare (via Taste of Home). The rice-like dish cooks slowly with the addition of small amounts of liquid. The short-grain arborio releases its velvety starches as it warms, becoming a creamy, spoon-worthy delight (via Food Network). Its grain creates a tender textural quality similar to rice and is best served right off the stove while still warm.

Butter, cheese, vegetables, and protein are often incorporated into risotto recipes to add flavor to the otherwise bland dish. It is versatile enough to serve as a main dish or as a side to accompany the main course, such as seared scallops (via Janes Kitchen Miracles).

The Barefoot Contessa adds peas and fresh crab to accentuate her risotto recipe. The famous chef also incorporates a secret ingredient to risotto that adds a kick to this "incredibly comforting one-pot meal." (via Ina Garten for Food Network). Keep scrolling to discover what element chef Ina Garten uses.

Poblano peppers add warmth to risotto

Ina Garten adds the warm kick of poblano pepper to her Fresh Crab and Pea Risotto recipe (via Food Network). According to the Food Network recipe, she removes the seeds and small-dices the pepper, creating just the right texture for the dish.

Poblanos are mild peppers with a heat scale ranging between 1,000 to 2,000 on the Scoville Heat Unit scale. Their heat intensity lies between having very little to containing a similar intensity to that of a jalapeño (via Pepper Scale). Poblano peppers are two to eight times milder than the jalapeño pepper and have an earthy, rich flavor that transitions to a mildly sweet taste as the pepper ages.

Many Mexican dishes contain the popular bright green pepper, including chili Rellenos, burritos, and enchiladas, and they can be eaten raw, roasted, or grilled. Cooking with poblano peppers is a breeze; their versatility makes them an excellent ingredient for adding a depth of flavor to many recipes, including Garten's risotto.