Pros: Quick and tasty in under twenty minutes. The rice maintains its firmness.
Cons: Gummy texture if you cook it according to the time in cooking directions.
I’m a foodie who will eat almost anything, but that shouldn’t suggest I lack a discerning palate. I know the difference between Kobe beef and a White Castle Slider; and I still like them both. As for risotto, given the time and ingredients at my disposal, I would gladly make my most favorite dish from scratch.
If you’re going to prepare risotto the right way, it takes time and coddling. You have to constantly stir as you pour chicken broth ½ cup at a time over your mixture, making sure the short, fat kernels of arborio rice soak up the broth and soffritto. When everything is done, there’s no greater rewarding culinary task. Well, except maybe for tossing a salad.
Sometimes, however, there just aren’t enough hours in the day to pay risotto the proper homage it deserves. So if you’re going to phone it in, Alessi Risotto alla Milanese comes pretty damn close to the real thing.
In what looks like an 8oz. brown business envelope, Alessi packages all the necessary ingredients to create an instant risotto in under twenty minutes. It uses real arborio rice for an authentic risotto look and taste. Though its other ingredients might sound unappetizing (anti-caking agents, corn cereal solids, hydrolyzed corn and gluten, for starters), understand that we’re talking quick and easy. There’s a trade-off for a dish that usually takes an hour or more to cook and prepare.
How Does Alessi Risotto Taste?
Risotto is a versatile dish that can be coupled with almost anything. As long as you have the rice base and the broth, the third ingredient is limited only by the imagination (mushrooms or sun-dried tomatoes, fish, fennel; I’ve even seen a recipe for grapefruit Risotto). Risotto Milanese is the traditional Italian risotto. The main ingredient is saffron which also lends the dish its deep yellow/orange hue.
I was expecting to taste soft, overprocessed yellow bile, and although I set my expectations low, no one was more surprised than me to experience a truly tasty, flavorful, if somewhat slightly glutinous mixture. The arborio rice maintained a tender yet firm bite and the saffron flavor was bold but not overpowering.
(This is lifted directly from the package)
In a large saucepan with a tight fitting lid bring 20 oz. (2 ½ cps) of water to a boil.
Add 1tbsp butter and package of Alessi Risotto. Stir while boiling for one minute.
Cover saucepan tightly. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook undisturbed for 18 minutes. Let stand uncovered for three minutes. Fluff and serve.
The texture, if not careful, can tend toward thick and viscid. The mixture thickens as it cools, which is why I recommend shaving one to two minutes off the cooking time for a creamy, porridge-like consistency. It really comes down to a matter of preference.
Overall, however, Alessi Risotto Milanese makes for a quick and delicious meal. Does it supplant the classic preparation? Of course not, but when all you have to add is water and butter, this is great in a pinch. One package makes four servings.