There is No Reason for Risotto to Exist

Of all the things you can make at home, risotto provides by far the worst return on your investment of time and effort. Not only does it take a lot of active cooking time and effort, but even if you are successful, all you are left with is some soggy rice. With most things that are cooked in a pot, you simply throw in the ingredients, bring it to boil or simmer and then you either just wait until it’s done or give it the occasional stir. Frying on a pan usually requires constant attention but whatever you are cooking is usually done in a couple of minutes. Risotto is unique in that it combines all the time of boiling with all the effort of searing.

Rice is generally one of the easiest things you will ever make. You throw some rice in a pot with some water and gently boil it until the water is gone. You can throw in some herbs and spices, you can fry it in some oil; whatever way you prefer you will end up with a decent tasting side dish. There is simply no compelling reason for risotto to exist as a dish. Why would you invent a rice cooking technique that requires ten times the effort and just leaves you with a glob of soggy rice? If you’ve never seen risotto, just imagine your dog eating an entire pot of rice, taking a nap for 15 minutes, and then waking up and vomiting it back into the pot. If you’ve never seen a risotto recipe, it essentially involves cooking rice in a pot by adding a little bit of broth at a time and stirring repeatedly. Apparently there is some reason why you can’t just dump in all the broth at once and boil it off like any other rice, but I have no interest in learning what that reason is.

I’m not one for reality cooking shows, but a few years back I watched bits and pieces of a couple seasons of Hell’s Kitchen, and if memory serves me correctly, ever episode involved at least one scene where Gordon Ramsay was screaming at some chef for messing up the risotto. Keep in mind that all of the contestants on that show cooked for a living, and they were still regularly messing it up. If you try to make this at home you will probably mess it up, and even if you don’t your dining companions will probably hate it anyway. If you do like risotto then go out to a nice Italian restaurant and let someone else worry about cooking it.