The main difference in preparation between risotto and typical rice preparation is that in the Italian dish "risotto", the rice is first parched in the pilaf method, then the liquid is added gradually – usually in three stages – while it is stirred continuously until all liquid is completely absorbed. In this manner, the starch is slowly released during the cooking process resulting in a rich, creamy dish with a near porridge-like consistency where each individual grain of rice maintains a distinctive bite.
Other features that make "risotto" a truly special dish can be attributed to the fact that the liquid most often suggested for its preparation is a high-quality stock or broth, with wine often replacing a portion of the stock. Additionally unique is the fact that the liquid used should be brought to a simmer separately and seasoned; infusing the broth with both flavor and color. This method shortens the risotto's cooking time substantially, while building a depth of flavor within the framework of the dish.