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Risotto is a type of Italian dish in which the rice is cooked with broth until it becomes creamy. There are many varieties, including chicken risotto, which simply is risotto with chicken. In order to create the best risotto, choosing the proper rice is important, and the amount of liquid used will often vary. Cooks usually taste the risotto while cooking to know when the rice is just right. In chicken risotto, chicken is not added until nearing the end, to ensure it is not overcooked.
Not all types of rice are appropriate for chicken risotto. As risotto is an Italian dish, it is best prepared using short grain varieties. Cooks often prefer Baldo, Arborio, and Vialone Nano rice varieties in risotto. Arborio rice is easily found around the world, while other varieties are only available in Italy. These types of rice do not absorb as much liquid as other rice due to the high starch content, resulting in risotto that's more compact and sticky.
Chicken broth is commonly used to cook rice when preparing chicken risotto. Professional chefs typically add hot stock to the cooking rice. Cold broth will not completely cook the rice kernel as the center of the kernel remains hard. A pot full of simmering stock next to the risotto helps to smooth the process.
Many cooks recommend stock additions decrease near the end of cooking to ensure that the chicken risotto is not overcooked. For the best consistency, it's often recommended to wait until one addition of broth is absorbed before adding another. This ensures that the rice cooks evenly. The cook may also decide to substitute some wine for part of the broth.
Cooks are usually advised to constantly taste the risotto after the first addition of broth. When the rice gives only a slight resistance when chewed, the rice is considered al dente. Cooks typically continue to taste until al dente is reached and the texture of the risotto is creamy and fluid. The consistency of the risotto can change after only a few minutes so the cook must be vigilante.
The chicken will cook when added to the risotto. Small pieces of chopped chicken are appropriate for chicken risotto and will cook quickly. Large pieces may need to be cooked partially before being added to the risotto. Professionals often recommend that chicken or other meat be added when the rice is close to al dente.