Bobby Flay's Crucial Tip For Flavoring Cacio E Pepe Risotto

Cooking isn't so difficult. Anyone can take a slab of meat and throw it into a pan, or stir together flour and water and stuff it into the oven. However, what comes out might look less like a meal and more like some dough got too close to a volcano. Where cooking really happens is often in the seasoning. Being able to mix and meld flavors is what can change a bland brisket into a succulent supper or transform a box of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese into gastronomic glee. Do it right, and the flavors are exceptional. Do it wrong, and you end up with a black pepper and honey catfish that even the dog won't touch.

Bobby Flay has offered many suggestions for seasoning food over the years. Flay's burger recipe, for example, calls for melting the cheese directly in the patty and whipping up a slider sauce with a truly artful inclusion of spices. He also devised a store-bought potato chip hack that involves dusting unsalted chips with his own blend of salt, garlic, and chili powder, as well as dry mustard. Now he's offering fans some advice for how to get the perfect flavor out of risotto, and it's a curious tip.

You should dilute your stock for cacio e pepe risotto, Flay says

Risotto may not be everyone's first choice for homemade dinner. Though it's a wonderfully creamy rice dish that can be customized with any flavor, it's infamously labor-intensive. To make risotto, you must stand over the pan, constantly adding liquid (usually a broth of some kind) little by little and stirring until the rice absorbs enough liquid that it becomes al dente. Seeing as it takes the patience of Job to execute well, many people don't bother. But for those who do, Bobby Flay is swooping in with his seasoning miracles to improve this delicious dish — specifically, cacio e pepe risotto.

"You can use anything from water to some sort of stock" when cooking your risotto, says Flay in an Instagram post. While he might use mushroom stock for mushroom risotto or vegetable stock for a lighter vegetarian risotto, he opts for chicken broth diluted with water when making his cacio e pepe version. "The reason I've diluted it with water is because the chicken broth is going to really reduce and concentrate inside the rice," he explains. Because chicken broth is so salty and flavorful, it can become, in Flay's words, "completely overwhelming" and cover up the flavor of your cheesy risotto. Considering the soul-warming taste of hearty Pecorino Romano and spicy black pepper, that would be a true tragedy.