What is the best rice for risotto?
Risotto is a beloved traditional Italian dish and cooking it requires a lot of high skill and special attention to detail. Although cooking risotto is a complex process, once you master the basic techniques, this creamy deliciousness will be your go-to dish.
Why is choosing the right rice vital for cooking risotto?
In Italy, risotto is considered the first course of a typical meal that includes several courses served at paced intervals. The opulent, creamy texture of a good risotto depends on using the right kind of rice.
The constant stirring during the cooking process rubs the starch off the surface of the rice, which then dissolves and thickens the liquid. Failure to choose the right kind of rice will result in not achieving that creamy texture.
Risotto is traditionally made with short-grain rice, as these types of rice have high amylopectin (starch) content which allows the risotto to become creamier once cooked.
Short grain rice also holds up well to the constant stirring — the final texture is soft but has a slight chew at the centre of each grain.
Italians have several varieties of risotto, where the highest Italian risotto rice grade is superfino, followed by fino, semi-fino, and commune. Three popular types of superfino rice are Arborio, Carnaroli, and Vialone Nano.
4 types of rice to use for cooking risotto.
1. Arborio: Capable of absorbing large amounts of liquid and producing a relatively creamy risotto with a hearty texture, Arborio is the most popular short-grain rice for making risotto. Arborio is typically wider and longer than carnaroli or vialone nano. It is not as starchy as carnaroli, yet it retains a large percentage of its starch content as it goes through less milling than other rice types.
2. Carnaroli: Known as the ‘caviar of rice’, Carnaroli is the favourite of many chefs around the world. It is high in amylopectin (starch) content and is a plumper, large grain rice. This gluten-free rice maintains the shape of each grain during the entire cooking process and produces the creamiest risotto.
3. Vialone Nano: Vialone Nano is short-grain rice grown in the Veneto region of Northern Italy without chemicals. Classified under the semifino rice variants, Vialone Nano is thick and stubby and cooks up more quickly than carnorolis. It absorbs the liquid very well and is commonly used for soupy-style risottos, especially those with added seafood.
4. Baldo: This relatively new variety strongly bear a resemblance to Arborio in the level of starchiness and its shape. Baldo is the quickest cooking of the risotto rice, which is grown in the Piedmonte in Italy. These thick grains retain their texture during cooking and have a rich flavour.
Are you Looking for that right rice to make the perfect creamy risotto? Grown and packaged in Italy, Ideal Distribution offers varieties of risotto rice specially crafted to achieve that luscious texture. We recommend Arborio and Carnaroli rice from Riso Grazia for making your own delicious risotto.
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