Last Friday I was fortunate enough to attend The Ritz Carlton’s Risotto Cooking Class. I’ve always wanted to learn how to make Risotto and it’s always been so intimidating for me so this was the perfect opportunity!
I was one of the first to arrive at Lobo, Ritz’ Italian Restauran, and they graciously offered us drinks and pastries for breakfast. They have very yummy cappuccinos!
Display of the different pasta’s they use
Normally The Ritz holds it’s cooking classes in their demo kitchen (which is where I attended the Pasta vs Pastry Cooking Class) however this time we had it in their main kitchen as The Ritz was a full house. It was so clean, one of my fellow attendees said “we can sleep in this kitchen!” LOL!
The enthusiastic attendees
Basic risotto ingredients:
- Chicken Stock (If you don’t have homemade, you can use cubes or stock from can)
- Arborio/Carnaroli (Short, fat grains that are high in starch) *DO NOT wash the rice or it wont be creamy
- Parmesan Cheese (Best parmesan cheese is Grana Padano, even better than Regiano according to Chef because Regiano takes 17months to make, while Grana Padano takes even longer at 24months)
Options for dressing up a basic risotto:
- Saffron (Risotto Milanese)
- Squid ink & prawns (Black Risotto) *can be found in Kem Chicks, but make sure to get the pure not diluted with water
- Seafood Risotto *some people use fish stock for this, but Chef prefers using chicken because it doesn’t have the fish taste
Chef giving us an intro on Risotto
Risotto must be cooked at the lowest possible temperature. If it boils then it will burn and be bitter. You will have to start again.
1. The olive oil is ready once it spread smoothly on the bottom of the pan, like water.
2. Add onions and garlic (remove from the fire if it is too hot so it doesn’t burn) until it is translucent. If they burn then it will be bitter.
3. Add pre-cooked risotto
- Risotto that has been cooked for 10mins in chicken stock
- If you are not using it immediately, place in a flat tray and spread so it cools fast or place in ref so it doesn’t continue to cook.
- Can stay in the ref for up to 3 days
4. Add a shot of white wine
5. When it has evaporated, add chicken stock to cover the risotto (about 2 ladles for 2 ladles of risotto. 1:1 ratio) and thicken
6. Add 2 packets of pure squid ink, salt, pepper and tomato sauce (NOT paste)
7. While that is thickening saute prawn until it is half cooked *the secret to it not sticking in the pan is when you place it in hot olive oil, DO NOT move it around until the bottom has cooked sufficiently and no longer sticks to the pan. If you move it immediately, it will stick.
8. Stir risotto constantly. DO NOT leave for 5-7 mins without stirring or else the sides will burn
- To make sure it is not burnt, scratch the bottom of the pan with your spoon. If you can see the bottom then it isn’t burnt.
11. Then remove from heat and place about 4-5 cold butter cubes and a handful of grated Grana Padano
12. Stir in to melt (Below chef gives us each a tasting portion)
- Do steps 1-5
- Then skip to 10-12.
- For step #11, aside from the Grana Padano, you can add gorgonzola, blue cheese or taleggio cheese. NO hard cheeses that do not melt easily.
Now it’s time for some volunteers to try their hand at Asparagus and Mushroom Risotto.
- Steps 1-5
- Saute mushrooms with salt & pepper in olive oil
- Add 1-2 spoons of brown sauce (steak sauce?) with red wine reduction
- Once mushrooms are done mix in with the risotto
- Step 10-12
Volunteer #1 is doing the ASPARAGUS RISOTTO.
- Steps 1-5
- Add big handful of peeled and half-cooked asparagus
- Once it’s thickened, turn off and add a dollop of pesto
- Step 11-12
Cooking class is over. Now it was time to enjoy the lunch that Chef Mariano prepared for us! I love the long table setting, which even had menus and place cards for all the participants. Loved it!
Bread basket with our favorite sambal bread (A must try at Lobo!)
Sliced Roman tomatoes and buffalo mozzarella marinated with Genovese pesto and mixed salad
Risotto alla Milanese
Saffron arborio risotto with Grana Padano shavings and fresh chives. Served with red or white wine according to your preference.
Tortino di Mele for dessert
Small apple tart dusted with cinnamon and bourbon vanilla ice cream.
The friends I made during the class. I think what made this class especially enjoyable for me are the new friends I met. The other attendees obviously loved food, talking about it and making it. So it was fun talking to then, asking them questions and sharing tips and our different points of view during the class. At lunch it felt more like a lunch with friends, rather than with people you just met.
The ALL ABOUT RISOTTOA COOKING CLASS was held last September 23,2011. Participants paid IDR 450,000++ for
- Class on:
- How to make a basic risotto
- Different kinds of risotto with added ingredients
- Tips on how to make the perfect risotto
- Three course lunch with wine
- Risotto cooking class certificate
Next cooking classes will be on:
- October 2 – Cooking Class for Kids (Cupcakes and Pizza + safety, sanitation & food presentation) IDR 175,000++
- October 22 – All About Fish Cooking Class (how to choose, clean and cook fish) IDR 350,000++ [CANCELLED]
Notes from Chef: