How do I salvage a bland, already-cooked risotto?
January 7, 2009 4:18 AM   Subscribe

Having absent-mindedly added three times the amount of rice called for, how do I salvage a deadly-flavorless risotto?

Tonight I cooked a simple tomato risotto. I misread the ingredients list and added three times as much rice as I needed. Last-minute infusions of extra tomato were fruitless. The risotto is consequently bland bland BLAH and worse, I have about 3 days worth sitting in the fridge and glowering at me.
I have pepper-ed. I have basil-ed. I have added cheese. The risotto is now simultaneously overly cheesy AND bland. Delightful combination.

Is there a way to re-tool a risotto? Bake it under a blanket of feta? Smother it in something delightful?
I'm faced with spending the rest of the week eating cheesy wallpaper paste.
posted by tabubilgirl to Food & Drink (20 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I would reduce some chicken/meat/vegetable stock in a pan, for a long time, till thick and concentrated. Then mix in. Or, make arancini.
posted by Kiwi at 4:31 AM on January 7, 2009 [2 favorites]

Seconding Kiwi's arancini suggestion. Put something tasty in the middle, and they'll turn out fine.
posted by Kreiger at 4:51 AM on January 7, 2009

Actually, my first suggestion may not be so good; you may end up with runny slop.

(You could swallow your pride and add powdered stock cubes - there are some good-ish ones out there. I have lived with northern Italians and seen them cook risotto w/ cubes...)
posted by Kiwi at 5:01 AM on January 7, 2009

Best answer: I don't know about salvaging the risotto, but could you stuff vegetables with it? It seems like tomatoes, green peppers, or eggplant hollowed out and filled with a risotto/finely chopped vegetable/herb mix and baked in the oven--maybe with some cheese on top--would be fantastic
posted by whitewall at 5:20 AM on January 7, 2009

Well, it definitely needs more salt even if you use it as a filling for something else. Either salt it or use the bouillion cubes mentioned above.
posted by cabingirl at 5:24 AM on January 7, 2009

Yeah, you're missing salt. I always forget this. Maybe a little butter/oil/margarine.

Alternatively, make a flavorful lentil stew (or other stew) and serve that on top of the rice dish. Might be surprisingly good.
posted by amtho at 5:32 AM on January 7, 2009

Some dijon or whole grain mustard goes well in risotto, if you like mustard. It would add a lot of flavor without changing the consistency much.
posted by evilbeck at 5:45 AM on January 7, 2009

Best answer: I can't believe that no one has mentioned bacon yet. Bacon is one of the world's most perfect foods. (Apologies to the vegetarians out there.) You can also add onions, peppers and mushrooms. They seem to make anything taste better.

Also, this recipe sound like it could be helpful.
posted by inquisitrix at 6:03 AM on January 7, 2009 [1 favorite]

Are the grains hard or mushy? If they're mushy, I'd recommend leaving the risotto as it is, and serving it as small portions with each meal as a starch.

If they're still relatively firm, I'd stay away from adding additional liquid to the risotto. Cook up some non-liquidy veggies, like kale sauteed in onions, in olive oil and blend with portions of the risotto after nuking it. Grate parmesian on top. Don't hesitate to discard some leftover risotto if it's too much.

Liquid is the devil incarnate for risotto, because the rice easily looses its firmness. This happens to refrigerated rice as well. That's why chefs cook risotto in stock while constantly stirring. The trick is to achieve grains that are firm and springy but not grainy and undercooked. (I've never mastered this.)
Going overboard with liquid or refrigerating kills the firmness. So in your case, you should improvise.
posted by Gordion Knott at 6:08 AM on January 7, 2009

Risotto fritters.
posted by Wet Spot at 6:08 AM on January 7, 2009 [1 favorite]

Arancini. You'll be sad when the end of the bland risotto comes, because arancini are that awesome. You can stuff them with pretty much anything you like, mozz or a bolognese sauce are traditional. (I like putting a pitted olive in the middle, myself.) Also, add some salt.
posted by desuetude at 6:17 AM on January 7, 2009

Best answer: I really think you need salt or a concentrated broth reduction. What might give you instant deliciousness is putting some red wine in a pan to boil, throwing in a bouillon cube, and mixing that in. I have no objection to bouillon cubes, personally.

And I agree w/Wet Spot. At least, I think I do, if risotto fritters are where you dredge cakes made of risotto in bread crumbs and fry them.

And a cool thing to try would be risotto parmesan -- once you've got those risotto cakes fried, throw on some tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese and run it under the broiler.

I promise you, I can always make an innocuous meal more fattening.

Oh, and actually--there's a recipe in Deborah Madsen's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone that is a sizzling risotto. Hers is a white wine based risotto with fontina, but you could try it mixed with a little extra cheese of whatever you want and baking at 350 until it looks good.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 6:20 AM on January 7, 2009

Just to clarify, the Deborah Madsen recipe calls for an already cooked risotto--like yours -- put into a Pyrex pan and baking at 500 degrees (!) for fifteen minutes.

I actually got up off my ass and looked it up.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 6:22 AM on January 7, 2009

Risotto isn't that great reheated anyway. It should be made fresh and eaten right away. You know you botched it the first time, so just make it again.

Barring that, add salt, butter, sauteed vegetables, parsley, nutmeg, lemon.
posted by Jaltcoh at 6:49 AM on January 7, 2009

I would try any or all of the following:
- add salt, pepper, and fresh herbs, and then either bake or fry it up. The Maillard reaction always helps;
- use a few scoops here and there inside an omelette. Rice is an underrated omelette stuffing;
- see if I could spread it thinly enough in a large, hot fry pan to get the risotto to form a kind of pancakey thing, into which I would place bacon, herbs, veggies, etc.;
- give some to the dog.
posted by Dr. Wu at 7:50 AM on January 7, 2009

Make pan-seared risotto cakes with a great sauce.
posted by Miko at 8:08 AM on January 7, 2009

tabasco. ain't nothin' it can't cure.
posted by msconduct at 9:59 AM on January 7, 2009

This is my recipe for a to-die-for risotto, given that you have already mixed in my other ingredients: rice, tomatoes, and cheese (which I normally sprinkle over at the last minute):
Add one or two apples, plus cooked carrot, red pepper, courgette (zucchini), mushrooms, and some bacon (or veggie sausage if you are vegetarian). If you were in the UK, I'd suggest also adding Vecon stock (available from healthfood stores and supermarkets). As you are in the US, I'd cook an onion and a couple of stalks of celery together, blend into a paste, and mix this into the risotto. The apples make this a really tasty contrast of flavors - I usually add these at the start of cooking to let them mush down into the base, but you can pre-cook in the microwave and mix in if you don't want to overcook your existing risotto. The celery-base gives it some "depth." The other veggies give the risotto texture and make it more interesting. The meat or veggie meat substitute provide a great counterpoint to the sweetness of the apples. So you get a smorgasbord of flavors ...
posted by Susurration at 10:01 AM on January 7, 2009

liquid smoke
posted by wayward vagabond at 2:18 PM on January 7, 2009

Use it to fortify any soup or stew. Pan fry with something greasy (veg oil or bacon or something) or mix with tasty things and wrap up in grape leaves or wonton wrappers. Fried rice.
posted by headless at 8:32 PM on January 7, 2009

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