J. Kenji López-Alt's Simple Risotto Tip That You Should Follow

As anyone who has attempted to make risotto at home would know, this is one dish where patience and perseverance count as important ingredients. Regular white rice can be made by measuring out exact proportions of grains and water into a pot or rice cooker and then leaving it to cook. The Food Network recommends using a water-to-rice ratio of two to one, then leaving it "without peeking or stirring." But risotto, which is made with different types of rice, is a different story. 

For Italian culinary legend Marcella Hazan, making risotto involves preparing stock so it is at a low simmer, cooking up your rice and aromatics, then adding 150 ml of stock at a time as you stir constantly, to ensure the risotto doesn't turn into a mass of stuck-together rice, per The Guardian. By J. Kenji López-Alt's calculation, that entire process should take "at least half an hour," per Serious Eats, which means it could take more time than that.

But López-Alt says there is something you can do to ensure you spend less time over the stove if you really want to have risotto for a weekday meal but don't have time to spare, and all it takes is adopting a hack some of the best restaurants chefs use to make your risotto table-ready in 10-15 minutes like all the pros do. 

López-Alt recommends partially cooking risotto so it can be finished later

In an Instagram post, J. Kenji López-Alt says, "When I make risotto at home, I start with about twice as much as I need. Then when I'm around 75% of the way done with cooking, I ladle half of it out on a sheet tray to cool and store. That way I get risotto tonight (with some mushrooms, green beans, and dragon tongue beans from our @seattlefarmersmkts haul) and later on in the week I get super easy risotto that only takes 10m to get onto the table."

Those who followed López-Alt back in the day when he was writing more regularly for Serious Eats know that he's talked about this trick before. On the site, he explained why the hack works, saying, "The key, instead, is to undercook the risotto and cool it rapidly to prevent that rice from overcooking, so you can easily finish cooking it later," and by "undercooking," he means getting the rice so it starts to soften but still has some resistance when you bite into it. When you're ready to have your risotto, warm up the rice by adding "a ladleful" of liquid – be it a stock of your choice or water, and heating thoroughly, which he says should take up to five minutes.