Michael Chiarello's Ultimate Secret Ingredient

Unfortunately, there are no magic ingredients when it comes to cooking. But it'd sure be great if there were. Imagine, all you have to do is throw this one item into all your soups, pastas, casseroles, or whatever else it is you like to make, and it turns out perfectly every time. That's the dream, right?

While we'll keep our eyes peeled for the day such an ingredient exists, most of us are going to have to stick to the basics for now. Still, there are ways you can take your cooking to the next level without needing any supernatural help.

But some assistance from a famed chef couldn't hurt. Michael Chiarello, the Food Network star and master of Italian-influenced California cuisine, has one ingredient he likes to include wherever he can. It's his little-known secret ingredient, but once you know it, you'll never want to go back to the time when you didn't.

Keep reading to learn about Chiarello's ultimate secret ingredient, as well as some fun ways to incorporate it into your own kitchen.

Chiarello loves a certain type of rice

While there are no hard and fast restrictions when it comes to secret ingredients, a good rule of thumb is that it's gotta be something you wouldn't expect to normally use for a specific purpose. Michael Chiarello's favorite secret ingredient is exactly that.

According to an article on the Food Network, Chiarello loves to use arborio rice in place of breadcrumbs. "I grind Arborio rice and use it instead of breadcrumbs on most of my fried foods," he told the network.

The reason for this isn't just that he likes the grain's flavor, although that could be true. He likes it for the sugar content. Arborio rice "has a higher sugar content than wheat, so it caramelizes faster, which helps prevent fish or delicate vegetables from overcooking," he explained.

So there you have it. While it won't guarantee perfect fried food every time, it's surely worth a try. If it's gotten the approval of Chiarello, it's got to be a pretty good hack. As the celebrity chef mentions, give it a try on fish, vegetables, or anything else you want to fry.