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!
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 it was a full house in The Ritz at that time so all venues were taken up. It was so clean that one of my fellow attendees said “we can sleep in this kitchen!” LOL!
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
- Grana Padano Parmesan Cheese
Some options for dressing up a basic risotto:
- Soft cheeses
- Squid ink & prawns (Black Risotto) *can be found in Kem Chicks, but make sure to get the pure one, not diluted with water
- Seafood Risotto *some people use fish stock for this, but Chef prefers using chicken because it doesn’t have the fishy taste
- Asparagus and pesto
- Saffron (Risotto Milanese)
- Seafood and mascarpone cheese
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.
Once again the Chef emphasized that the best Parmesan Cheese is Grana Padano which according to Chef is aged about 24 months, while Parmigiano-Reggiano is typically aged about 17 months. It’s funny though because I noticed that based on weight, Parmigiano-Reggiano is more expensive in my supermarket than Grana Padano. Yay for me!
Chef giving us tasting portions. I must say, despite not being a fan of anything with squid i, this is absolutely delicious!! It must be the secret ingredient *wink! wink!*
*Note: Did you know that squid ink has no effect whatsoever on the flavor? So it’s more for presentation purposes (shock value). I did not know that.
Volunteer #1 did the MUSHROOM RISOTTO
Volunteer #2 doing the ASPARAGUS RISOTTO.
After the cooking class, it was time to enjoy the lunch that Chef Mariano prepared for us! I loved the long table setting, which encouraged lively conversation throughout the meal. There were menus and place cards for all the participants. (Now that’s Diplo-style!) So much careful preparation by the wonderful Lobo Restaurant Ritz Carlton team – as always!
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.
Saffron is the most expensive spice in the world (by weight). Derived from the dried stigmas of the purple saffron crocus, it takes anything from 70,000 to 250,000 flowers to make one pound of saffron. Moreover, the flowers have to be individually hand-picked in the autumn when fully open.
Tortino di Mele for dessert
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 old friends, rather than people you just met.
The ALL ABOUT RISOTTO 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, 2011* – Cooking Class for Kids (Cupcakes and Pizza + safety, sanitation & food presentation) IDR 175,000++
- October 22, 2011* – All About Fish Cooking Class (how to choose, clean and cook fish) IDR 350,000++
- Limited space available, for reservations you may call + 62 21 2551 8998.