risotto liquid variations?
September 29, 2019 8:48 PM   Subscribe

The other day, the person I was cooking with had leftover salsa-flavored water from salsa-making and we used that instead of broth to make risotto. The result was delicious! What other unique flavored liquids could I try? I'm most curious about things that aren't broth but feel free to suggest unique broths.
posted by azalea_chant to Food & Drink (15 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
I’ve never tried it, but maybe the steaming liquid left from steaming artichokes? I always add a little salt and lemon to it and it’s got a golden color and a nice aroma.
posted by mezzanayne at 8:58 PM on September 29, 2019

Maybe like 20% carrot juice to 80% broth?

If you save the cobs from corn after taking the kernels off you could boil them in some broth/water/milk and use that to make extra corney risotto.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 9:18 PM on September 29, 2019

The liquid from soaking dried mushrooms made the best risotto I've ever eaten.
posted by monotreme at 9:28 PM on September 29, 2019 [12 favorites]

You can use whey (leftover liquid when making ricotta cheese) in soups and for making rice. I'd imagine it would add a great flavor to risotto.
posted by hydra77 at 9:38 PM on September 29, 2019

Came here to say corn cob water! I use water that broken corn cobs (and sometimes also onion and/or garlic) have been simmered in as the basis for a couple corn soup variations, and I bet it would be fantastic here. Though it's probably a bit too late for seasonal corn in most places.

Dashi, for a serious umami hit. (Though I guess that maybe counts as a broth?)

What about buttermilk? Not the stuff you buy at the store, but the stuff that results from actual butter-making? I haven't tried it, but I bet a bit diluted with some other liquid would add a nice tanginess to the risotto.

And venturing into weirder territory, what about pickle juice/brine? I love to drink both the leftover salsa-making liquid you used as well as pickle brine, and sometimes mix them together for a lovely hot summer day drink, which is why it comes to mind. You'd probably want to be very conscious about how much salt you add to the rest of the recipe.
posted by rhiannonstone at 9:40 PM on September 29, 2019

If you try a few different varieties of beer let me know how it goes.
posted by McNulty at 9:57 PM on September 29, 2019 [1 favorite]

Thai curry risotto! Saute some curry paste with the garlic and shallots or onions before cooking the rice. I still use broth for the main liquid, but use coconut milk instead of cream towards the end of cooking. Easily one of my favorite fall/winter comfort dishes because it's spicy and hearty and creamy all at the same time.
posted by evilbeck at 9:58 PM on September 29, 2019 [8 favorites]

I've never done this but what about some of the liquid from kimchi thinned out with some korean dried anchovy stock? Whenever I make kimchi fried rice I finish it with a pat of butter and it's really great - it not only helps to crisp up the rice but also adds a lot of richness and roundness of flavor, so I imagine in a buttery risotto some kimchi flavors would be great too.
posted by Mizu at 10:25 PM on September 29, 2019 [1 favorite]

Yes to the cob water. My preference is to place corn husks on a cookie sheet and brown them in the oven. Put in a pressure cooker with the cobs and a bit of water for 20 minutes. Strain the stock.

I use it for risotto, add parmesan for extra nuttiness, and top with seared scallops.
posted by bfranklin at 3:52 AM on September 30, 2019 [1 favorite]

Nthing corn stock. Could also try dashi for seafood risotto--when I make miso soup I usually make a secondary dashi just by moving the kombu and bonito to another pot and reducing to half. Might have to try this myself in a risotto!
posted by Mngo at 5:16 AM on September 30, 2019

I make salsa chicken in the slow cooker (jar of salsa, 2.5 lbs of chicken, on high for 2.5-3 hours, then add lime juice, cumin, chili powder) and always have some leftover "runnings." I sometimes turn those runnings into amazing risotto the next day, adding beans and some of the salsa chicken.
posted by writermcwriterson at 5:45 AM on September 30, 2019 [1 favorite]

I have made fantastic risotto with pureed soups, mainly squash, pumpkin or roasted vegetables. I get an extra smooth blend, dilute a little more with water or white wine and then use it like a broth.
posted by August Fury at 8:46 AM on September 30, 2019

The risotto I make uses a combination of broth and white wine which gives a great tang to a parmesan-flavored risotto. Something like this recipe.
posted by jessamyn at 9:35 AM on September 30, 2019 [1 favorite]

My friend makes orange chicken and rice with orange juice and onions as a base with the rice, and putting the chicken pieces on top and baking it. It's really good, but I don't have a recipe. I love risotto and don't eat dairy, so no cheese or butter. I use lots of onions and olive oil as a base; onions get sweet and are a good foil to any salty broth, as jessamyn says, white wine is delicious, but port, sherry, even red wine are tasty, though red wine can go kind of gray. Miso is an excellent base for broth. V-8 juice is popular for a reason. 2nding mushroom broth is delicious.
posted by theora55 at 12:02 PM on September 30, 2019

I just recently saw a recipe for parmesan broth which sounded fantastic. Collect parmesan rinds (keep them in the freezer) until you have 10 ounces:

To make the Parmesan broth: In a large pot, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high. Add 1 head of garlic cut in half (both halves), cut-sides down, and cook until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the Parmesan rinds, the lemon rind, 8 sprigs of thyme and 8 cups water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, uncovered, until the broth tastes full and rich and is reduced by half, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. (You will have about 4 cups of broth.) Strain the broth. (Once cool, the broth will keep for 1 week refrigerated or 3 months in the freezer. If freezing, leave a bit of space between the broth and the lid of the container, as the broth will expand.)

I haven't tried it but it sounds great. May be too much trouble to make the whole recipe just to be used as cooking liquid. You could use some for the risotto and the rest for soup (with white beans and hearty greens)?
posted by primate moon at 4:27 PM on September 30, 2019 [3 favorites]

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