What Is Beef Risotto?

Donna Tinus

Beef risotto is a type of rice dish prepared with some variety of beef along with beef stock. Risotto is made with a starchy rice called aborio that is often used in Italian dishes. The dish cooks slowly over low heat to create a creamy rice consistency. Ground beef, chipped beef, or sliced beef can be used in beef risotto. Other ingredients may also be added, such as mushrooms or onions. This could be used as a main dish, or as a side dish accompanying another meat.

Parmesan cheese is often sprinkled on top of risotto.
Parmesan cheese is often sprinkled on top of risotto.

Ground beef combined with a few fresh vegetables, such as carrots and celery chopped into small pieces, can be used in a beef risotto dish to make a satisfying and filling inexpensive main dish. Sliced beef tenderloin can be browned and combined with sliced button or portobello mushrooms and a splash of red wine to create a sophisticated dish that would be impressive enough for a company or holiday meal. Chopped beef can be browned in olive oil with peppers, onions, and celery. Aborio rice and beef both can then be added for a tasty side dish.

Chopped celery is a common ingredient in beef risotto.
Chopped celery is a common ingredient in beef risotto.

Risotto is generally prepared with short, barrel-shaped aborio rice, which is constantly stirred while cooking until it creates a creamy rice. This type of rice should still retain a slight bite even though the dish enjoys a smooth consistency. Sometimes, a small amount of light or heavy cream is added to the rice at the end of the cooking time to increase the creaminess. A sprinkle of Parmesan cheese lends a salty, nutty flavor to the beef risotto dish.

Aborio rice is a large rice with the ability to absorb liquid, which makes it perfect for this dish. As the rice cooks, it absorbs the broth. The cook continues to add more hot beef broth while the rice is constantly being stirred. Carnaroli is another type of rice that can be used to make risotto, but carnaroli absorbs more liquid, so extra broth should be kept on hand. The constant stirring releases the starch, which is what gives the beef risotto its creamy taste and texture.

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