Crafting Creamy Risotto

To help HERE! connect with the local community, I usually visit a few different shops every month, especially in the Dongcheng area. Three months ago, I dropped off the new HERE! Magazine at The Butchery House before striking a surprising 30-minute conversation with Jessy, the Italian-Chinese owner. She was cooking when I entered the store, and the idea of having her teach me how to make a dish became very intriguing. For the October issue—three months later—we both agreed on executing the idea for Billy in the Kitchen.

To help me figure out which dish I wanted to learn, I went back to a WeChat post of The Butchery House opening party last November, where there were a variety of dishes available. Honestly, it was a difficult decision, since The Butchery House had an abundance of delicious selections. Jessy and I started with 10 possible dishes and eventually decided upon the risotto.

Risotto is one of my favorite Italian dishes. When I was in Beijing, I liked to eat at an Italian restaurant called Annie’s about once a month. I ordered the seafood risotto eight out of the 10 times when I visited Annie’s. To make my challenge a bit easier, Jessy and I decided to make a cream and mushroom risotto. Jessy also appointed Chef Cavallino to show me how the dish is made.

​Regarding a homemade risotto, I suggest some potential adjustments, including the level of saltiness, the texture of the rice and the amount of cheese added. Personally, I would have preferred a little bit more salt and with extra cheese.

After reviewing my dish, Chef Cavallino said the risotto was a bit undercooked, but could be improved by simply cooking for a few more minutes.

Make it Yourself

1. Heat a pot and add a bit of olive oil

2. Add a teaspoon of chopped garlic and onion before stir frying them

3. Add 100g of Italian Arborio rice in and a tablespoon of white wine, then cook it for about a minute

4. Add 450ml of chicken broth into the pot and put the cover on

5. Cook the rice for 8 minutes, check and stir periodically, and add a little bit of water if the broth is running out

6. Add 4-5 pieces of sliced mushrooms, 4-5 chopped parsley leaves and a teaspoon of salt and black pepper

​7. Add 50g of cooking cream and a tablespoon of parmesan cheese, and cook for another minute

8. Put everything on a plate while adding some parsley leaves on top and a touch of olive oil