Risotto is a dish that people try to avoid when having guests over. Why? Because as the host, you also want to spend time with your friends and risotto has a reputation for being time and attention consuming to cook. Who wants to be in the kitchen most of the night when they can hear laughter coming from the other room? I’m guessing not you.

But wouldn’t you want to impress your friends when you bring out plates of creamy, steaming hot, delicious smelling risotto for their main? I know I would, and believe me, they are always impressed.

So here are my solid tips on serving risotto at your next dinner party:

Choose an easy to follow and tested recipe. This is always important. Never–and I mean NEVER–make a dish for the first time on the day you are having a dinner party. This is simply a recipe for disaster. So choose a recipe way beforehand and test it out, because then you can adjust it to your liking, or find a better recipe if it doesn’t work for you.

Now that you have a recipe, make sure you prepare all the ingredients. Measure your rice, wine and stock, chop your vegetables and protein, and bring your stock to the boil. Most importantly, prepare a wide, shallow dish or tray that will fit the risotto in a thin layer and will also fit in your fridge.

Start making the risotto. Most risotto recipes start with sautéing eschallots and garlic in oil. Do not burn, sweat them until soft without color, otherwise you’ll either get a burnt or raw after taste in your risotto.

Follow the rest of the recipe only until your rice is al dente. Meaning, do not finish cooking, but cook it until it almost ready. Now you have to be quick.

Transfer the risotto in the tray that you prepared earlier. Spread it out until you only have a thin layer. Then trace crisscross lines along the risotto with the wooden spoon and place it in the fridge to cool down completely.

When you’re ready to serve. When you’re ready to serve, bring your leftover stock to the boil. In a wide pan place 1/4 cup of hot stock for every 1 cup of risotto, then add the cold risotto. Stir to loosen it up and finish it according to the recipe you’re following.