Risotto, Arborio, and Starch
Welcome to the newest episode of Chemistry Bites! Risotto depends on the starch found in arborio to create the creamy consistency the dish is known for. You get the rice to release the starch and thicken by putting water into the pan at very high temperatures. To make sure that your rice releases starch the right way so that you can enjoy the dreamy consistency of risotto, only put more water into the pan when most of the water from the previous addition is gone and keep the heat on medium-high. That’s going to keep the starch concentrated and constantly releasing, which is going to make you a happy eater!
Frying with Oil
Frying doesn’t have to leave things feeling greasy. In fact, the greasy feeling stems from the fact that the oil was never properly absorbed. Why? It all comes down to temperature and water.
Hot oil fries things not just by cooking the food being fried, but also by forcing the water out of the food in question. That’s where those bubbles you see when you fry come from. As the water leaves, the oil can be absorbed and nicely crisp things up and taste clean.
When you fry improperly, the oil can’t get absorbed, and instead just hangs out on the surface of the food, giving it that very unpleasant greasy taste.
- 1.5 cups arborio rice
- Pinch of saffron (or 1.5 tsp turmeric)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 Tbsp oil
- 4-6 cups of water or chicken broth
- Parmesan cheese, optional
- Leftovers from risotto recipe, cold but not freezing
- 1 liter of corn or other good frying oil
- 6 ounces mozzarella cheese
- 3 eggs
- Bread crumbs
- Put oil into a hot pan
- Put rice into oil and stir, coating the rice with the oil
- Put in saffron
- Salt and pepper in moderation
- Add water, half a cup at a time, until the rice is cooked, with a creamy but not gluey consistency and has a small bite to it
- Heat an inch and a half to three inches of oil in a 6 qt dutch oven to 400 degrees F
- Mix an egg into the risotto
- Shape small balls of risotto around small pieces of mozzarella cheese
- Coat the risotto in a small amount of egg
- Dip the rice balls into bread crumbs
- Fry for 1.5 to 3 minutes or until golden brown