Risotto comes to us from the Italians. It is a dish that is made with short-grain rice known as Italian Arborio.
The rice is cooked in a broth which is mainly derived from either animal or vegetable stock.
Then the rice is stirred in the broth until creamy.
There are many different versions of risotto, made with different ingredients.
However, classic risotto is usually made with sauteed onions, white wine, mushrooms, and aromatics like saffron.
Cardiac Health says that rice is a good source of GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid).
GABA provides several benefits like lowering anxiety, blood pressure and helps regulate sleep.
Rice is also great for people who are dieting as it is low in fat and is gluten-free.
Risotto is a wholesome and healthy meal that is loved by many.
However, since most cooked items do not last long, how can you store risotto?
Can you freeze risotto to make it last longer? Well, you can. And this guide will show you exactly how.
Does Freezing Affect Risotto?
Unfortunately, yes, freezing will affect the texture of your risotto.
It is because risotto is made from grains, and it tends to become hard when frozen.
However, controlling the texture-change is possible if you follow the right steps when thawing.
Let us look at why the texture of cooked risotto can change when frozen.
When you cook rice, it absorbs water to become soft. And this water in the rice crystalizes when freezing.
Then when defrosting it we the add more water or liquid to make it soft.
Thus, the texture changes because we are partially cooking it again.
However, freezing risotto does not change other aspects of it.
And if you thaw it out well, frozen risotto is your best bet to preserving it for a long time.
Freezing any food item is also one of the best ways to preserve any food item.
The Food Safety and Inspection Service also vouches for freezing, saying that it slows all microbial and enzymic activities in the food.
Risotto is made from rice, so it is prone to mold or fungi.
Healthline says, once rice goes bad, it produces mycotoxins which are bad for our health.
As such, freezing prevents the rice from going bad by making sure the mold or fungi never develops.
How to Freeze Risotto?
If you have no other choice but to freeze risotto, then follow these steps to ensure that your risotto freezes well.
Step 1 – Make sure to cool down your risotto to room temperature.
To do this, leave the pot on the counter with the lid slightly open.
Depending on the amount, cooling will take upwards of 2 hours.
If there is a lot of risotto, spread it over a baking sheet and let it sit.
Make sure the risotto is spread evenly so that everything cools down at the same time.
One thing to remember is not to keep it at room temperature for too long. Freeze it as soon as possible.
Tip: We advise you not to use a refrigerator to cool it down.
Michigan State University says that storing hot or warm things in the freezer or fridge can cause serious damage.
It not only affects the other items in the freezer but the appliance as well.
Step 2 – Transfer the risotto to air-tight containers.
This step is essential if you plan on freezing a large amount.
Freezing in smaller amounts will be easier to manage and to thaw out as well.
Although we do not recommend using Ziploc bags to store risotto, you can use them.
However, make sure they are extremely durable and airtight.
Step 3 – This step is entirely optional if you’ve used containers to store the risotto.
However, if you’re using Ziploc bags, it’s best you not skip this step.
Once you’ve transferred the risotto to the bags, squeeze out as much air and seal it.
Then put the risotto-bag into another bag.
Make sure to squeeze out as much air from the bag as you seal it.
This step is useful if you have a soupy risotto.
It will help prevent against any mess in the freezer in case there is spilling or leakage.
Step 4 – Label the date of storage and then put it into the freezer.
Your risotto should be good for use for the next 3-4 months after it is frozen.
How to Thaw Frozen Risotto?
To thaw your frozen risotto, you can transfer it to the fridge or you can microwave it.
Here are the steps for both methods:
1 – Cooling in the Fridge.
Freezing risotto can change the texture of risotto.
However, this method is by far the best to ensure your texture doesn’t change too much when thawing out.
Step 1 – Remove the risotto from the freezer and transfer it to the fridge.
Let it sit in there for about 8 hours. Because you’re simply letting it cool on its own without any heat, it saves the rice from overcooking.
Step 2 – When the risotto is thawed out, and you’re ready to eat it, take it out of the fridge.
Pour some water or stock onto a pan and bring it to a boil.
Then after turning the heat down, pour in your risotto and incorporate the liquid into it by gently stirring. Add a little more liquid if necessary.
Step 3 – Once it is fully incorporated, transfer it to a plate and enjoy your risotto.
2 – Use a Microwave.
This method is great if you need to thaw out your risotto quickly.
But it requires a little work.
Step 1 – Transfer your risotto to a microwaveable bowl or container.
Step 2 – Microwave it for 30 seconds in the ‘defrost’ setting.
Check if the risotto has softened so you can stir it. If not, let it microwave for another 30 seconds.
Once it softens, add a little stock or water and stir it in gently. Then Continue microwaving for another 30 seconds.
Depending on your desired consistency, add the liquid between each burst.
Continue the 30-second bursts for another 5 minutes or until your risotto is fully thawed out.
Freezing risotto is possible, but it is not a walk in the park.
It requires a good amount of work for freezing and thawing to ensure that the rice does not become too soft.
We highly recommend that you keep freezing as the last option.
Unless you cannot give it away or have no other choice, it is best not to freeze it.
On the other hand, if you do not mind the textural changes in thawed risotto, go ahead and freeze it.
But make sure to follow all the instructions on this guide or else you may end up with mushy risotto.