Rice toasting is the first cooking step which is essential for obtaining excellent risotto. This initial phase aims to waterproof the rice grain and keep it compact and whole all the way to the mouth. It’s very short, only 3-5 minutes, on a lively flame but its importance is indisputable. There are various types of toasting, but we only talk about toasting with an animal or vegetable fat to prevent the grains from sticking to each other. Some people use butter to have a tasty and sweet fat to match the rice flavour, but butter is made of low-digestible saturated fats so it’s not very appreciated by today's consumers. Others use extra virgin olive oil to get a lighter risotto and have a higher smoke point, but EVO also brings its herbaceous trait, which is not particularly appreciated in many risotto. Finally there are those who use butter added with a drop of oil basically to raise the smoke point.
A caterer client of mine, who is a great risotto fan, wanted to enhance traditional risotto without neglecting the needs of new lifestyles that are decidedly more interested to healthy food at the table. He asked me about sweet fat like butter and at the same time light as extra virgin olive oil. Knowing the unique characteristics of our goose fat, with a crystalline white colour and extracted by hand from the back of the goose, I suggested to him to toast the risotto with this special ingredient. This is a forgotten fat that combines the rich and sweet taste of an animal fat with the lightness and delicacy of a vegetable oil. If we add to this a higher smoke point than the butter, the toasting becomes a more interesting phase. The low content of saturated fats and the high content of oleic acid (typical of EVO) make the goose fat the perfect fat for the most demanding chefs who do not want to give up the tradition of risotto, but they ask for lighter and more digestible dishes than the original recipe. As you can see, sometimes it takes very little to reinterpret, in a gourmet version, the story of a territory that has mastered the best risotto ever: fresh, light and digestible.
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