Risotto, Potato, Polenta and other starches.

Discussion in 'Egg, Chicken, & Other Favorite Recipes' started by bigmike&nan, Jan 28, 2011.

  1. bigmike&nan

    bigmike&nan Chillin' With My Peeps

    I did food writing someplace else years ago - still do - and when I came here I moved everything over here for you folks. I can't believe I did not move this one thread over. It's basically notes I took in a Mediterranean Regional class where the chef was teaching us about basic starches and unique (to us at the time) for preparing them for restaurant service. I'm also posting a few recipes from chef's I worked for and from friends.

    Any time that you want to roast a potato or want it to be evenly brown, use a russet which is high in starch. If you want to cook it in a stew or steam it to serve with fish and you need it to hold together, use a new potato which is one high in moisture and low in starch. Also remember, starch always must be seasoned.

    When slicing with a mandoline, rotate the potato around to prevent developing a slope on the potato.

    In a restaurant all potatoes are prepared prior to service then held in a steam table or flashed in the oven before services.

    When making Pommes Anna, can also make individual servings. Pommes Anna can be layered with many different ingredients suchs as truffles, salmon, cheese, ect. Can also make Pomes Gallette by forming a single ring of layered potatoes to ring the plate - will be very delicate.

    Pomes Nature are a steamed, turned new or red rose potato for serving with fish. Check for doneness by inserting a toothpick. Store in the liquid they cooked in. For service toss with butter and parsley. Use trimmings from turning potatoes to make french fries - deep fat fry and serve as an appetizer.

    When using foil, cover food shiny side down; the other side tends to stick to and come off on the food.

    For Pommes Duchese: make a mashed potato base and add eggs and butter. Used as a base for many other potato dishes, also used for molded potatoes.

    Pommes Berie: add chopped truffles, roll in a ball then roll ball in fried shoestring potatoes so the ball is spikey.

    Pommes Parisienne: Needs to be rounded, it is slightly permissible to have one slightly flat side. Support the back of the scoop with thumb and dig deeply into the potatoe. Brown off in a little oil or clarified butter and finish in the oven. Season with salt and white pepper, glaze with glace de viande.


    Polenta is simply corn meal mush. Polenta usually has a coarser grind than corn meal. The liquid that is added can be water, but that will not impart any flavor; a combination of 1/2 light stock and 1/2 milk can also be used. Seasoning can be added at the beginning, can infuse garlic into the milk or add fresh thyme. In a meal, starches are meant to be supporting, not dominant players. For firm polenta the liquid to polenta ratio is 4:1 by weight: for soft polenta the ratio is 4:1 and more butter can be added. Allow 1 oz. raw polenta per person.


    Risotto is a very classic rice dish and a specialty in northern Italy. The type of rice used is important; to be a risotto the rice must be:

    1. Arborio - short, fat pearls
    2. Vialone - more rounded pearls.

    Risotto is cooked like a porridge and is very glutinous. Risotto is usually served in winter. The stock the risotto is cooked in must be seasoned with salt and pepper and the stock must be HOT, if you add cold stock to the risotto you kill the cooking process, be sure you use hot stock as that continues the releasing of the starches from the rice. Lobster risotto can be made by browning off the shells and infusing the flavor into the stock. When adding a flavor component to risotto, the flavor must be infused at the beginning.

    Pommes Dauphinoise
    (6 servings)

    1 clove garlic, smashed rub in pan
    4 large russet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
    salt pepper nutmeg
    ementhal or gruyer cheese, finely grated
    1 1/2 cups cream

    Spread potatoes in thin layer, periodically season and sprinkle with cheese. Fill to top of pan, press potatoes down so they are smooth. Pour over cream, cover with foil, poke holes in foil so steam can escape. Bake at 350-375 degrees for 45 min, remove foil and bake an additional 45 minutes. Five minutes before potatoes are done sprinkle with cheese and gratiner (broil for color).

    Saffron Risotto
    (5 servings)
    Saffron is the stamen of the crocus flower., most prolific is parts of Spain. The crocus matures and the stamen is revealed in a 24 hour period, the fields are watched very carefully and must be harvested quickly once the stamen shows. There are three saffron threads to each stamen, it takes over 13,000 threads to make a pound of saffron, and since the harvesting is so labor intensive the price is high. It takes only a pinch of threads to flavor and color a dish. I DO NOT recommend using powdered saffron or “Mexican Saffron”.

    2 Tbls butter and 2 Tbls Olive Oil
    1/2 cup finely chopped onion
    1 1/4 cup arborio rice
    1/2 cup dry white wine
    5 cups hot chicken stock with pinch of saffron added
    1 1/2 oz butter
    3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

    Sweat onions in olive oil and butter until translucent, add rice and sweat briefly, add wine and cook until rice absorbs all of the wine, known as the sofrito stage. Ladle in the chicken stock a bit at a time while cooking over medium heat. Cook for approximately 20 minutes. Rice should be al dente. Add butter and cheese, stir in, should be oatmeal consistency. Serve with additional grated cheese. When garnishing with seafood (lobster, shrimp or scallops) no cheese is added.

    a Friends suggestion:

    Risotto is great. I made it the other night with braised short ribs. I used valencia rice which is another short grained riced and it works well. Arborio, valencia and even sushi rice all will work.

    Braised short ribs

    ~ 6 medium short ribs
    2 carrots diced
    2 ribs of celery diced
    1 medium onion diced
    2 cloves of garlic minced
    2 bay leafs
    1 cup wine
    Chicken stock to cover.

    Brown the ribs on all sides in some olive oil in a heavy dutch oven. Remove ribs and add vegetables and sweat but do not carmelized. Deglaze with wine. Replace short ribs and add stock to just cover the ribs. Place in a 250 oven for 4-5 hours. You don't want the liquid to be boiling. Just a light simmer will do. Half way check the ribs and turn them over adding liquid if needed.

    I like to do these a day ahead so I can refrigerate and remove fat before reheating

    Risotto, peas and parmesan

    1.5 cups of risotto rice
    1 cup wine
    4 cups chicken stock heated
    1 medium onion diced
    1 cup frozen peas thawed
    3 tbs butter
    3 tbs parmesan reggianno.
    S & P to taste

    Sweat onions in 1 tbs butter then add rice and salt and mix. Start with wine and stir on a medium flame until most of the liquid had been absorbed. Then begin adding stock one ladle at a time as BigMike described. When the rice is done but still firm in the center add peas, butter and parmesan. Stir until all have come together. Re-season if needed

    I served the risotto with the short rib on top and the veggies and sauce from the ribs over and around the plate.

    A beautiful meal that is rustic, delicious and inexpensive

    Disclaimer. I don't measure when cooking so these are estimates


    In this one restaurant I worked in we had risotto on the menu a LOT. Making a serving of risotto in a restaurant is very time consuming and thus quite impractical, no way does an owner want that line chef and burner on the stove tied up for 20-25 miniutes. And think of the client sitting there with his guests ("wow are they slow here..."). What the owner had figured out was to par cook the risotto about half way in advance, then spread it out on a sheet pan to cool in the walk in, then we'd measure up in roughly 6 oz. servings on a scale and wrap them in wax paper. When we got an order for risotto we'd pull one of those wrapped serving portions and finish cook it, just like we'd stepped away from the pan and now were following the last 10 minutes of the cooking process - near the end adding to it whatever the garnish was. One of the better ones was risotto with mussels - called Aunt Mary's Risotto (after the owner's Sicilian aunt). They'd get the risotto going and then do the mussels in a covered saute pan with some shallots, garlic, parsley, fresh thyme and white wine... When the mussels were done they'd hold them aside and add the cooking pan liquid to the risotto pan. Then the risotto would go in the serving bowl with the mussels arranged around the inside rim of the bowl. Real darn goood...

    If you try this one: Remember the Sicilians are real sticklers - if you use seafood in an item you DON'T CHEESE IT, they feel cheese inteferres with the subtle flavors of the seafood...

    Class is now dismissed. LOL
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2011

    JAPJRGIRL21 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 1, 2010
    MMMMMM...love me some risotto!! Been awhile since I made some, might need to run to the store to get some for dinner. Thanks for the class!!
  3. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    I bought the rice for risotto a couple of months ago but have not yet tried making it; now I have to!
  4. TerriLaChicks

    TerriLaChicks Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 23, 2008
    Central Louisiana
    YUM! thanks for posting this Mike.
    Now I will just have to cook risotta with shrimp & asparagus tonight!
    However, being only 1/2 Sicilian, I do shave some pecorino romano on it.
  5. BettyR

    BettyR Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 1, 2008
    Texas Gulf Coast
    Risotto is one of my favorites, but I live in a very rural area and the store nearest my home doesn't carry risotto rice of any kind. So not wanting to do without I decided to try just plain old medium grain rice and see what happened. Guess what... it made a halfway decent risotto. So yipee we get to have risotto with our dinner a couple of times a week.
  6. KatyTheChickenLady

    KatyTheChickenLady Bird of A Different Feather

    Dec 20, 2008
    Boise, Idaho
    mmmm lobster rissotto . . .
    thanks for sharing a great thread mike, I learned a lot!
  7. flowerchild59

    flowerchild59 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 25, 2010
    Southern IL
    I am a huge fan of risotto and love to add asparagus and mushrooms and a touch of lemon to my finished risotto.
  8. Carolyn

    Carolyn Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 6, 2008
    I needed to have found this thread before I fixed supper. I have been wanting to make polenta and rissoto but have not found the right ingredients in local groceries. Anyway tonight when I started to put brown rice on for supper I had the salted water boiling when I realized I had no rice at all. Changed the idea of a stir fry with rice in a hurry. I decided to use leftover meat loaf as the main, had veggies and I thought I'd try polenta with the stone ground yellow cornmeal I use for making cornbread. Neither my hubby or I have ever eaten polenta so I figured the worse thing that could happen would be more scraps for the chickens.

    I added a little broth from cooking some country ham and then started stirring in corn meal. Had to add more water and added some evap milk and 1 tbsp of butter for flavor. I was thinking I don't have a clue what I am doing. In the end I added some cheese and poured it in my iron skillet to bake for about 5-10 minutes while I finished the rest. I was waiting for my hubby to complain when he said "what is this?" "it is really good".

    I guess I still haven't made polenta but I do know I have the perfect cornmeal to use for it.
  9. flowerchild59

    flowerchild59 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 25, 2010
    Southern IL
    When I can't stir the polenta forever, (the coarser grind type that takes over an hour to cook), I will add the polenta to the stock and water mixture, bring to boil, cover it and put it in the oven to finish cooking. I check it every 15 or 20 minutes and stir it. It is alot less labor intensive and cooking it at 325 or so, long and slow, well, for me, it comes out better than on top of the stove.

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