Soothing yet sophisticated, risotto seems perfect for entertaining - but few would dream of cooking it for a party. All that last-minute stirring may make for great risotto, but it hardly makes for a composed host.
That's why we were delighted to learn of an easy way to make risotto ahead of time: just pull the pan off the heat before adding the last bit of broth; then, just before serving, put it back on to finish the process.
This idea came to us from Inspired Chef, a company that offers in-home cooking lessons from professional chefs. It was demonstrated by Rebecca Ets-Hokin, one of their certified culinary professionals, who hit upon the trick by accident as a new mother.
"I was about 75 percent done making wild-mushroom risotto when my baby woke up," she says. "I turned off the heat but left the risotto on the stove. About an hour later, I came back to finish it. The risotto was perfect."
Our testing confirmed Ets-Hokin's results: firm but creamy risotto that rivals constantly stirred versions. (One caveat: made this way, risottos with high ratios of liquid to rice may become slightly mushy.) This innovative, fusion-style risotto from Inspired Chef is great started ahead. Inspired Chef: (800) 528-1030.