Lidia Bastianich’s secrets – and some easy recipes – for an excellent risotto

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Celebrity chef Lidia Bastianich is known for her elegant and rustic Italian recipes that almost any cook can master.

From casseroles to desserts and more, the popular PBS culinary host has done it all. Here are some of his creative interpretations of one of Italy’s most beloved dishes, risotto.

The risotto recipes listed here call for arborio rice and can be found in Bastianich’s cookbook, Lidia is a pot, a saucepan and a bowl: simple recipes for perfect meals.

Lidia Bastianich | Ben Gabbe/Getty Images

The chef’s tips for a good risotto

As Bastianich said Epicurious, the perfect risotto does not happen by chance. Here are some of the rules the chef follows for a deliciously creamy bowl of the popular dish.

Wine is important in risotto: “Before any other liquid, I will add white wine,” she explains. “The rice is thirsty, it will pull it in.”

Also, it’s essential that the liquid you use to make the risotto is good and hot, she added. “When the rice has absorbed all the wine and the grain itself tastes good, you add the broth. It is important that the stock is at the same temperature,” she said. “You try to squeeze these starches out and they come out, if you put cold broth in you coagulate it. You are going against your goal of creaminess.

Bastianich also suggests cooking the risotto in a pan with a wide bottom: “A nice wide pan is recommended with a thick bottom so that the heat is evenly distributed. You want evaporation to occur.

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Tomato and basil summer risotto from Bastianich with mozzarella

While most risotto calls for a fair amount of liquid, this recipe, says Bastianich in his cookbook, “starts with a little less hot liquid than my other recipes for the same amount of rice.”

The reason for this is the inclusion of juicy tomatoes. “You will get…extra liquid when you cook the tomatoes in the pan, creating a rich tomato flavor in no time.”

The chef also includes chopped shallots, dry white wine, small ripe tomatoes, peperoncino flakes, hot chicken broth, diced fresh mozzarella, chopped fresh basil leaves, grated Grana Padano and unsalted butter.

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Risotto with mushrooms and sausage from Lidia Bastianich

Earthy and meaty, this risotto, writes Bastianich, uses “any combination of hearty mushrooms.” She cautions against using portobellos, though, “because their dark gills might blur the color of the risotto.”

Also featured in this satisfying dish are sweet Italian sausages removed from their casings, thinly sliced ​​leeks, chopped fresh thyme, dry white wine, sliced ​​mixed wild mushrooms, hot chicken broth, unsalted butter and grated pecorino.

She writes in the cookbook that “the process should take about 18 minutes from the first addition of liquid, with the final product still a little loose, but not runny.”

Chef’s risotto pancakes

This recipe might not be exactly for risotto, but it’s a smart use for leftovers from the rice dish.

As the chef says, “If you’re lucky enough to have leftover risotto in the fridge, you can have that dinner on the table in no time. I add grated zucchini for color, but you can also leave it out, especially if you’re starting with a vegetable risotto.

The ingredients for this recipe are entirely up to your preference and the ingredients of the risotto, but Bastianich’s cakes include zucchini, grated pecorino cheese, an egg, chopped fresh Italian parsley, chopped chives, and fine, dry breadcrumbs .

The Lydia’s kitchen the host recommends serving the cakes on a mixed salad seasoned with vinegar, mustard and olive oil.

RELATED: Lidia Bastianich’s Ricotta Chocolate Chip Cookies are ‘simple, cakey, one-bowl treats’

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