The risotto metarecipe, in some detail:
  1. Rice, if possible of the Superfino Arborio or Vialone Nano varieties (both are grown in Northern Italy): if you cannot find them, substitute with a medium grained rice, not an oriental rice like Basmati or Jasmine, because you want some starch to release. Consider about 70 grams per person.
  2. Butter. No substitute. Risotto was invented in Northern Italy, and the traditional cooking fat there are butter and lard. Olive oil arrived much later.
  3. Onions, about a quart onion per person. Not a lot, really.
  4. Stock, vegetable or meat, although meat-derived broth is tastier.
  5. pinch of salt, pepper to taste ...

Stage 1: toasting

Start by putting a pot with the stock on the fire. It has to be boiling or very near boiling for the whole time. When this is somewhat hot, start a second pot with the butter (don't be stingy there) and the very finely chopped onions.

If this is sausage risotto, add the chopped sausages now.

The onions have to become transparent, not brown. When they are at this stage, throw the rice in and toast it well,

If your risotto implies some sturdy veg, like carrots or cabbage or potatoes, now is the moment to add them.

Stir the rice until it becomes clearer, almost transparent in fact (at the beginning it is whitish). This should take about four minutes, don't forget to mix it continuously, otherwise the grains on the bottom will burn and you will have to dump the whole mess in the garbage can.

At this point, you can also throw in a quarter glass per person of white wine. Unless you are doing risotto a la embriaga, in which case it would be red wine. Stir until all the wine has been absorbed.

Stage 2: the wave

At this point, add enough boiling broth to cover the rice and no more. Stir with a wooden spoon, and enter this loop:
  1. Check whether the risotto is fluid but not watery: there should not be a layer of liquid on the surface, yet the risotto should behave like a very heavy fluid, that's to say "make waves" when stirred.
  2. If it is too dry, add a ladleful of broth, and mix.
  3. wait one minute
The one minute bit is not exaggerated: the bastard will burn unless watched.

If your risotto implies delicate stuff, like asparagus or leeks or shrimp, you add it somewhere in here, depending on its cooking time.

After about twenty minutes, start tasting the rice. When it is almost done, turn off the gas (you are not doing this on an electric range, are you ?), add extra butter, mix, cover, wait one minute and eat.

Stage 3: the eating

Usually served with grated Parmigiano, unless it is a seafood risotto. Only people from Parma put Parmigiano on seafood risotto, and the people from Genova berate us for that.

Must be eaten hot: when cold it sucks horribly, and does not take very well to reheating.

Within this meta method, you are free to invent and elaborate, and still call this risotto.

note: in Milan style risotto, (Risotto alla milanese) saffron is mixed with some broth and added during cooking.

Thanks to ninar for pointing out a missing sentence.

Some other tips:

  1. You cannot make risotto for one person; the minimum is two, and if you order it in a restaurant in Italy you must have a partner.

  2. When you cook risotto, mix it with a wooden spoon, but taste it with a metal spoon.

  3. Leftover risotto can be eaten saltato (which does not mean "salted"). What you do is heat some butter in a saute pan, add the risotto when the butter is hot, and mash the rice with a fork. Cook it three minutes on each side.

risotto, dedicated to sensei

Although sensei is mostly vegetarian, I hereby dedicate my most sacred working-recipe of the best risotto I can cook, to my friend.

Risotto alla sensei

1. You need a scalding hot pan, as large as you can muster, preferably teflon or Silverstone Platinum (which is the ultimate in non-stick cookware for lazy chefs).
2. You need a litre (or a litre and a half) of good quality chicken stock (if you use stock from a carton, try to get the lowest sodium you can -- just compare the packs and purchase accordingly)
3. You need a half-kilo of the best aborio rice you can get (don't be a wuss, get the good stuff if you can -- risotto alla sensei features Malacchini Riso Superfino Carnaroli from Verona, as it is hand harvested, resulting in a highly uniform grain size and maturity, which, when cooked, assists in all grains being cooked to the same consistency..)
4. You need the ingredients on hand, as the action will demand easy access in about 35 minutes..;
5. one handful of spring onions or eschallots;
6. two handsful of German cured bacon, finely chopped
7. pepper (in this recipe, we used ultra-black fine Indian peppercorns, for their tight piquant characteristics);
8. two cups of green peas, fresh and podded;
9. five grams of Iranian saffron stigma (Tasmanian or Spanish is OK, but this risotto is for our sensei);
10. one bottle of good semillon white wine (in this recipe, we use Hunter Valley 1999 "first");
11. 200g of cultured butter, (unsalted if possible);
12 asparagus tips (skinny).


Heat your skillet or pan to a very high temperature, utterly dry. When you feel your pan is as hot as it's likely to get, plunge your entire stock of rice into the pan! You'll notice a dramatic effect, much like popcorn, with grains hopping all over the shop, including some who are able to escape the pan (leave those ones, they're on a different path).
After 60 seconds of toasting, drop in a quarter-cup of your stock. You'll be rewarded by a furious bubbling and spitting -- this is good! Stir like your life depended on it -- what we're trying to achieve is uniform coverage of liquid on rice...
After a minute, plunge in a splash of wine -- you'll notice a similar bubbling... Let the risotto recover from their shock at this point. They've entered a new state of being, let them settle...
Next, when your risotto are really thirsty and begging for liquid, splash in another small measure of stock or wine (trust your intuition at this early stage -- you and your risotto have entered a holy pact);
Keep your risotto thirsty (this is the whole secret of risotto), and give them a little drink of wine or stock when they're just about expired from thirst;
In parallel, heat a smaller pan with a little oil (your favourite is fine -- although this recipe uses macadamia oil) -- and fry your bacon and onions to a nice 3/4 done consistency;
Your two pans are now ready for merging: immediately after a dousing of liquid, sling your bacon and onions into the risotto pan, and stir furiously, add more stock!
Stir, stir, stir. Every grain is sacred, and wishes to please you. Add a smidge of liquid when you have to, until the liquid is all gone...
What you're looking for is a grain consistency like the classical Italian al dente ("to the tooth", that is, pliant but firm at it's middle). When you sense you are five minutes from al dente, toss in your remaining ingredients and stir, stir, stir! You'll find the butter and cheese to act as lubricants for the other delicious ingredients...
Stir some more -- this is risotto, dammit, and the secret is in the stirring fnord
When you are al dente (no more than five minutes), remove the pan from the heat and let the mixture settle. It might look like something Dai Un coughed up, but trust me, this is a magnificent risotto!
Serve as you will, although take the time to tell your fellow diners that this is risotto alla sensei

Enjoy. Bon appetit.

Important footnote:

there will be leftovers. KEEP THEM! There is nothing quite like leftover risotto, refried in a wok (as "patties") the next day. Serve with sourdough and cultured butter.

/me misses sensei

Fluke's sixth album, released on September 27, 1997.

Quite different when compared to their previous album - more instrumentals, harder songs and edgier lyrics. I don't like it as much as Six wheels on my wagon, which isn't to say that it's a bad album, but it loses energy too quickly. Moving one of the first two tracks down into the middle of the album probably would have fixed this somewhat.

Compare and contrast to Underworld's Beaucoup Fish, released two years later.

  1. Absurd
    "downtown minnie mouse is slapping mickey in the famous crowds while big bird spreads the word - anybody with a heart votes love."

    The opener, and the other famous song from the album. Starts off with thumping bass beats and a woman moaning, before upping the tempo and bringing the rest of the instruments into play. The lyrics make absolutely no sense, except in an Underworld streamofconciousness sort of way. This is another one of those "better with vocoders" songs.
  2. Atom bomb (atomix 1) 1
    "baby's havin' too much fun, she got a shit kickin' motherfuckin' atom bomb!"

    The song that really got Fluke noticed by the masses. Played continuously pretty much everywhere during 1996, made it onto a couple of soundtracks and into at least one game. Hard, fast, edgy techno, danceable, and with great lyrics about a cute, megalomanical girl just trying to take over the world and have some fun doing it. The video clip mixes the WipEout 2097 intro movie, in-game footage, some quick shots of Rachel Stewart dressed up as Arial Tetsuo, and a short anime sequence involving a lot of blood. I'm sure the only reason they picked 2097 was because it had just been released - Arial Tetsuo is from the first WipEout game.

    Fluke apparently got into some trouble playing this live on BBC Radio 1 by singing the above lyrics for 24 straight bars.
  3. Kitten moon

    Oooh, pseudo-trance! And dreamy, heavy pseudo-trance at that. Even though it's not one of the more famous songs on the album, it probably should be. Gets fast towards the middle of the track, probably breaking the "trance" thing, but I'm not all that great with genres anyway.

    Oh, and it's the second longest song Fluke have done. Now you know.2
  4. Tosh (mosh) 3
    Surprisingly, this isn't punk or metal. In fact, it's more of a buzzy dance/trance beat than anything else. You could mosh to it, but you'd look pretty damn stupid.
  5. Bermuda
    "i am drowned out by the roar floating back up from the shore. it is wonderful."
    Another synth and piano number, feeling a lot like something out of Oto.
  6. Setback 4
    "i swear, all i could see was ruins for miles and miles..."
    The intro part before the breakbeat kicks in reminds me of tolling church bells, for some reason.

    More Underworld-style lyrics, and a sort of ambient background to go with the beats (although, there's some bleeps that make me think of CoLD SToRAGE).
  7. Amp
    Similar to Setback, but without the vocals and more bouncy. Not too much to say about this one, really.
  8. Absurd (reeferendrum) 5
    Is it just me, or are Fluke the only ones who're any damn good at remixing their own tracks? Don't give me any of that "Born Slippy vs. Born Slippy.NUXX" crap - this track sounds absolutely nothing like the original. It's mostly heavy drum beats with a soaring, twinkly piano and harp line.

    It's also the 10th track on the Sasha/Digweed mix album Northern Exposure 2: East Coast Edition, albeit slowed down a little.
  9. Squirt 6
    "quick, quiet, confident. comfortable, permanent. undisputed, every tense. not a trace of what went left."

    Yet another breakbeat number with a swelling synth-line. The lyrics really make this one stand out; they're not like anything else on the album, and Jon Fugler really doesn't sound like himself. Nice track, though, and the single has some excellent remixes.
  10. Goodnight lover

    Ambience. Bells. Guitar. Progressive backbeat. Wind off the bells and up the guitar and backbeat. Add in a synth-violin noise until it sounds like something from a James Bond movie. Not a bad closer, and the lack of lyrics winds down nicely from the previous track.

    Fluke had some help from Steve Dub on this track - he's the guy who engineers all the Chemical Brothers albums.

<< OTO || The Xmas Demos >>

1 Unlabeled.
2 That would be the Untitled no. 3 of Slap it, if you're wondering.
3 Labeled as "Mosh".
4 Remix, unlabeled.
5 Labeled as "Reeferendrum".
6 Remix, unlabeled.

Ri*sot"to (?), n. [It.]

A kind of pottage.


© Webster 1913.

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