Whipped Cream Is The Secret Ingredient For Fluffier Risotto

Risotto and whipped cream aren't two foods typically associated with one another, but combining them yields impressive results. Anyone looking for a fluffier risotto texture can take advantage of this trick used by restaurants to ensure the risotto is light and creamy when it gets to your table. Restaurant risotto boasts a soft, creamy quality that's hard to replicate at home. Though it's a matter of heated debate whether one should add cream to risotto, the simple addition of heavy cream can turn homemade risotto into an exquisite dish — and this is even more true of cream that has been lightly whipped.

When it comes to beloved comfort foods, risotto is high on the list. Assuming it's made correctly, the Italian rice dish is satisfying and delicious. At its core, risotto is a simple dish of rice cooked in broth, but despite, or perhaps because of its simplicity, it's easy to get it wrong. Too much or too little liquid can lead to a runny or claggy result, in some cases adding cream during the process can make the mixture too heavy. This is because the reason risotto works is that the starches in the rice create their own creaminess. Fortunately, whipping heavy cream and adding it to risotto at the last moment is the secret ingredient for success.

How to add whipped cream to your risotto

Risotto is typically made with a short-grain rice, such as Arborio or Carnaroli, that's very high in starch. By slowly adding the liquid and stirring frequently, this starch is drawn out of the grains, creating a natural creaminess. This means that adding cream during cooking isn't necessary. However, every recipe for risotto involves specific steps to ensure the best flavor and texture, from adding aromatics or wine, to resting the dish, to, near the end, adding flavor in the form of fat. This stage, called La Mantecatura, happens after the risotto is taken off the heat, and can mean adding butter, cheese, cream, or olive oil. This is the stage at which you'd add your whipped cream, which contributes both creaminess and a fluffier texture to the risotto

Don't be tempted to add the whipped cream earlier in the process. Gently folding in the whipped cream, so you don't knock out the air bubbles, should be the last step before serving this dish. If you leave the cream in the risotto too long it will melt, so you'll still get the creaminess, but not the lighter texture. 

This risotto tip is one of the more creative ways to use leftover whipped cream, though you may eventually find yourself purchasing this ingredient just to make this dish. It's hard to go back once you've perfected your risotto recipe, and whipped cream helps do exactly that.