Perfect risotto starts with your rice

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Understanding Riso Gallo Gran Gallo, Riserva 1856 and Vialone Nano

Risotto has a reputation for being fiddly and difficult to make. So many things can go wrong they say. Overcook it and you get a scorched pot of sticky mush. Undercook it and you get a crunchy mess. But the truth is risotto is actually quite simple to make. Anyone can achieve that wonderful traditional flavour and texture. The key is to understand the different types of risotto rice and choosing the correct varieties to match your ingredients. In fact, the Italians have been cooking it since the fifteenth century and it’s still a family favourite.


A perfect risotto starts with perfect rice, so make sure you use quality Italian risotto rice. Riso Gallo has been Italy’s number one risotto rice producer for over 150 years, and its white rice range continues to impress professional and amateur chefs alike. Established in 1856, Riso Gallo is a sixth generation family business based in the Northern Po Valley, Italy, theauthentic risotto rice growing region in Europe.  The combination of the correct climate, soil type, landscape and the family’s unsurpassable knowledge and dedication to perfection ensures consistent quality and the finest risotto rice.


Riso Gallo produces 3 different types of rice: the Gran Gallo (Arborio) is the most well-known and widely available. Its plump stubby grain has a high starch content allowing it to absorb flavour and produces a perfect balance of creaminess and bite. It is extremely versatile and particularly good with vegetables.


Riso Gallo Riserva 1856 (Carnaroli), the ‘King of Italian risotto’ has more elongated grains though it is still classified as a short grain rice. It holds its shape well during cooking yet softens sufficiently to absorb flavours, guaranteeing a creamy firm consistency.  No wonder it is the preferred choice of top chefs.


Then there’s Riso Gallo Vialone Nano, not widely known by Britons but particularly liked by the Venetians. It is a small plump grain that holds its shape very well during cooking. The traditional texture is fairly fluid, or all’onda (“wavy, or flowing in waves”).


Choosing the right ingredients with the perfect rice is like pairing the perfect red wine with your steak – It can make all the difference. Here are a few simple and satisfying risottos to try today.

  • For a refreshing twist, try a combination of courgette, asparagus and garlic with Riso Gallo Gran Gallo.
  • For a summer classic, try broad beans, Taleggio and parsley with your Riso Gallo Riserva 1856.
  • The Riso Gallo Vialone Nano is particularly good with seafood so cook it with prawns, salmon or scallops.


So, why not start experimenting today and discover the delicious combinations you can make with a range of Riso Gallo finest quality of risotto rice?


Tomato and Pepper Risotto




Stunning, colourful dish of richly flavoured tomato and pepper risotto with black olives, served with a griddled salmon steak


Serves 4


2 red peppers

6 plum tomatoes

50g/2oz butter

8 shallots, peeled and finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed

300g/11oz Riso Gallo Vialone Nano risotto rice

1 wine glass dry white wine

1 ltr/1.75pts chicken or vegetable stock

50g/2oz freshly grated Parmesan

2 tbsp oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

6 x 175g/6oz salmon steaks

12 black olives

Rocket sprigs for decoration


Roast the peppers until charred. Place in a tied plastic bag and leave for a few minutes. Remove from the bag then peel off skin, remove seeds and slice flesh. Reserve. At the same time, place the tomatoes into a bowl and pour over the boiling water, just to cover. Leave until skins split. Drain, peel off skins and discard. Chop the flesh and reserve.


Heat the butter in a pan and gently cook the shallots and garlic until softened but not brown. Add the rice and turn around to coat and glisten. Add the wine and bubble until absorbed.


Add a ladleful of stock, and simmer, stirring. Continue adding stock like this by the ladle until all is used and the rice is creamy and tender – but still with a slight bite in the grain. Add freshly grated Parmesan. At the same time heat the oil in a fresh pan and cook the seasoned salmon steaks, skin-side down first to brown. Turn over and cook on the other side. Reserve keeping warm


Stir the peppers, tomato and olives into the risotto and season. Cook for 2 more minutes. Spoon onto serving plates and perch the salmon alongside.  Serve with rocket sprigs.


Alternatively, flake the salmon and stir into the risotto

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