Canned Soup Is The Secret To Making The Easiest Risotto

asparagus risotto in bowl on grey table
asparagus risotto in bowl on grey table - Ale02/Shutterstock

Sit down at any fine-dining restaurant, and you're bound to find some version of risotto on the menu, likely gussied up with chanterelle mushrooms, summer truffle, spring peas, or some other elegant accent. But at its core, risotto is a humble dish similar in look and texture to rice porridge or pilaf. To make risotto, a hot broth is added — ladle by ladle — to a shallow pan of rice that bubbles away on the stovetop. This gentle cooking process allows the grains to slowly release their starch, resulting in a naturally creamy texture.

But risotto can be finicky. Not only does it take a lot of patience and babysitting to get the consistency right, but there are a number of other errors or mistakes you can make that will ruin your risotto, like over-stirring, over-toasting, or over-seasoning. That's why when making risotto at home, it never hurts to take a few shortcuts to help achieve that smooth and sensuous plate of rice. Incorporating a can of condensed cream soup along with your broth is a great way to add richness and texture to your risotto without needing to stand over the stovetop, ladling, stirring, and reducing. Instead, you can basically just "set it and forget it" and let your rice cook away unsupervised (except for the occasional stir to prevent the rice from burning or sticking). Come back a half hour later, and you'll have a beautiful pan of homemade risotto.

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Why A Creamy Canned Soup Is The Answer

person cooking risotto in pan on stovetop
person cooking risotto in pan on stovetop - Pixel-Shot/Shutterstock

Using a combination of broth and a can of creamy condensed soup allows you to achieve that classic smooth and velvety risotto texture without having to wait for the rice to absorb each ladle of broth. Instead, you can cook your rice as you would a pilaf while still adhering to some other techniques that can help you make risotto like a pro, like toasting the rice, sweating the aromatics, and finishing with butter.

When selecting a creamy condensed soup, go for a variety that complements or balances the other ingredients. Cream of mushroom is an obvious choice if your risotto has some earthy undertones, while cream of chicken might be more appropriate for more prominent upfront flavors. But there's a wide variety of creamy condensed soups from which to choose, so there's no need to pigeonhole yourself with the classics. You can bring in some extra excitement by stirring in a cream of broccoli, asparagus, or shrimp! An important note is to add your condensed soup to your risotto at the same time as your broth; otherwise, it may burn. Then, all you need to do is bring your rice and broth mixture to a boil, set to a simmer, cover, and allow your no-sweat risotto to bubble away. Around 30 minutes later, remove the lid and finish with some butter and cheese, and you're ready to eat.

Other Ways To Incorporate Condensed Soup Into Your Cooking

chicken bacon casserole in white dish on wooden cutting board
chicken bacon casserole in white dish on wooden cutting board - Gwenael Le Vot/Getty Images

Risotto is just the tip of the iceberg when cooking with cans of condensed soup. Condensed soups help develop and enhance flavors while contributing a smooth, silky texture to whatever you're cooking. For something classic, look no further than the casserole. Many meals fall under this designation, but casseroles are all similar in that they're all homey and comforting and only require one baking dish to prepare. Try broccoli-cheddar, fiesta chicken, meatball hash-brown, chicken enchilada, or smoked sausage tater tot. Similarly, you can use condensed soup to fortify a chicken pot pie filling or add extra richness to a crock of slow-cooker chili.

And it's not just for risotto. Make condensed soup the base of your next pasta dish, enhancing dishes like pasta carbonara, fettuccini alfredo, macaroni and cheese, or even lasagna. Other creamy sauces, like curry, gravy, or a mushroom stroganoff, are also potential candidates. Use a tomato-based soup instead of ketchup to bring some umami to pot roast or sweet-and-sour meatballs. With so many possibilities, it's always wise to keep a few extra cans of condensed soup on hand, especially when you need to whip up a satisfying, no-fuss plate of risotto.

Read the original article on Daily Meal