Risotto is one amazingly simple yet fancy rice dish, and like all rice dishes it’s very easy to misjudge how much you’re making. One moment you think a cup of uncooked rice is fine, the next thing you know you’ve got leftovers. Rice is sneaky like that. So, you’ve got leftovers, and some really nice ones too.
But can you reheat risotto ? Won’t the texture change ? Is the parmesan going to act weird ? Fortunately you’re not the only ones with this problem, so there are quite a few ways to deal with this. Take a look.
Can you reheat risotto ?
Yes, you can reheat risotto but expect it to lose some of its texture. As the rice sits, the sauce will thicken and the rice will absorb more moisture. It will still have some bite to it, but it won’t be as perfectly al dente as fresh risotto.
The best way to reheat risotto is to bring a little moisture back to it, though you have to be careful not to stir it too much. If you can completely avoid stirring it until the end that’s even better. Let’s take a look at the main ways to reheat risotto.
Reheat risotto in the microwave
Reheating risotto in the microwave seems to be the easiest, fastest, and most efficient way. Place your risotto in a somewhat deep plate. if you use a bowl and add a lot of risotto it won’t heat through properly.
Put some plastic wrap across, or if you don’t want that, put a small plate as a lid. Add a bit of water or broth onto the rice, about a tablespon. Set the microwave on medium, and let it run for about 5 minutes.
The rice may be completely heated or it may need another few minutes, it depends on the strength of your microwave and how thick the layer of risotto is.
If you use high heat, you will get hot and cold pockets, especially in thick foods like risotto. Use lower heat and cook for a longer time to get an even heat.
When the rice is done, be careful when removing the plate, the moisture will collect on the lid and will drip when you open it.
Read also: Can You Reheat Pasta ?
Reheat risotto in the oven
Another way to reheat risotto is to use the oven. This will need preheating to low or medium low, depending on how strong your oven is. Don’t use high heat because you’ll burn the outer edges of the risotto and it will dry out before the rest of it is warmed.
Place your risotto in a plate, add a bit of water or broth on top, about 3-4 tablespoons. Seal the plate with aluminum foil, and put the risotto in the oven for 20-30 minutes.
The aluminum foil will act as a tent and circulate heat across the top of the risotto, and will also prevent the edges of the food from burning too much.
When the risotto is done, place the hot plate on a kitchen towel. If you place it directly on the table or kitchen counter it may crack due to the temperature difference.
Reheat risotto on the stove
Remember what kind of cooking liquid you used for your initial risotto, such as chicken broth or veggie broth. You need a 1:3 broth to risotto ratio to reheat this in a pot on the stove.
Stir the risotto every now and then, gently. The aim is to loosen the extra-thick creamy sauce, and to heat the rice through. This is a delicate process, because you need enough moisture to heat the rice but not cook it further than al dente, and you also need to evaporate some of that broth during cooking.
Why is my leftover risotto so thick ?
Risotto thickens as it sits because the starch present on the rice will absorb more moisture, leading to a thicker sauce. Risotto as a dish relies on the starch on rice. As the rice cooks and you stir the rice, you release more starch from each grain and it absorbs the cooking liquid.
This process continues overnight in the case of leftover risotto, but at a much slower pace. Aside from this, all starchy sauces appear thicken when cold. Once you warm them up they loosen and resemble their original self.
How to store risotto
The best way to store risotto is un an airtight container in the fridge, for up to 2 days. There are no special precautions, other than not leaving it at room temperature for too long.
Don’t freeze risotto, as it will lose all its texture and it won’t taste as good as fresh.
What can you do with leftover risotto ?
Leftover risotto can be used in a number of ways, depending on what you’re feeling like making. Think of it as an extra-creamy rice, and think of what you’d usually do with some rice.
Fortunately this rice is so flavorful you don’t have to add much else to it, so you can use it as-is in whatever dish you’re making. Here’s a few examples.
Arancini sound really exotic but they don’t have the most straight-forward name. They’re deep-fried or baked rice balls, stuffed with whatever you like. Or, if you’re using risotto, they already have a ton of flavor so you may not have to stuff them.
For arancini you need sticky rice so some extra-clumpy risotto is going to work just fine. You can leave the risotto as-is, or you can mix in some shredded mozzarella.
You need a flour and egg station, and you can even do a final breadcrumb stage. BBC has a really good recipe, you can follow it right after the risotto in their recipe is cooled.
Risotto is also a nice way to stuff some big mushrooms if you have any. If you’re going for grilled mushrooms you have to get the big portobello ones. Place a dollop of risotto onto the inside of the mushrooms, and maybe top everything with some mozzarella or Parmesan.
Keep in mind all mushrooms will release moisture, so your risotto may end up as creamy as fresh, or it may be a little loose. it depends a lot on how much water the mushroom has.
These are usually done in 30 minutes in the oven.
Use the risotto as a stuffing for meat
Another way to use risotto is to stuff some meat ! Whether you’re stuffing a whole chicken or just some chicken breast, you’re bound to love the burst of extra flavor. And because you’re using rice as a filling, your side dish may have to include a lot of vegetables steamed or grilled), so you have a nice carb, protein, and veggie dish.