What is risotto and what does it taste like?

If you love rice, chances are you'll fall in love — if you haven't already — with risotto, the creamy Italian rice dish that is prepared by first toasting rice grains in butter and then slowly adding small amounts of hot liquid (usually a broth of some kind) and stirring until the liquid is absorbed by the rice (via Serious Eats). As the rice cooks, it gives up its starch, which gives the dish a creamy, rich texture; more liquid is added each time the previous broth is absorbed, until the risotto is cooked (via The Spruce Eats).

Serious Eats describes the perfect risotto as a bit saucy and should "flow like lava" when the plate it sits on is tilted. And if you ask The Chicago Tribune's Peter Kump, he might have told you back in 1988 that risotto was a dish that belongs in the realm of the home cook, simply because the dish requires serious levels of attention needed to turn hard grains into gorgeous, creamy bits bursting with flavor by stirring non-stop until the rice was cooked through.

Risotto is as Italian as pasta

There are, in Serious Eats' point of view, just three types of rice that can be used in a risotto: Bomba, which is short-grained and is normally used in the making of a Spanish paella; arborio, which tends to go mushy quite quickly and can result in a rather thick sauce; and Carnaroli, which holds its shape, and yet manages to deliver on being creamy. While arborio is more popularly used in across America, writer Kenji Lopez-Alt prefers Carnaroli to use in his risottos, even though it is not easily available.

If you're not excited by the thought of consuming a bowl of mushy rice flavored with chicken, beef, or vegetable broth and possibly dressed up with some cheese, don't worry. Because risotto is as much a part of Italian cuisine as pasta is, just about any ingredient from cheese to seafood, sausages, and fowl can be added to the dish to liven it up. And like pasta, risotto is best enjoyed when you are far away from a keto or low-carb diet.