Rice like grapes has thousands of different varieties, but just as with grapes only relatively small number make it onto the supermarket shelves. Indeed like grapes certain types of rice grow better in different parts of the world than others. For example, the chardonnay grape produces its magic in Burgundy, France and the Risotto rice ‘struts its stuff’ in the Pavia region of Northern Italy. Is all Risotto rice the same? Not if you are a chef or a foodie.
I’m shopping for Risotto Rice – so what’s the difference? There are three main types: Arborio, Carnaroli and Vialone Nano Risotto Rice each presenting differing attributes that make them more suitable for different types of recipes.
Arborio rice has a plumb stubby grain and a high starch content that gives it the ability to absorb sauces and condiments which in turn produces a creamy risotto with an ‘al dente’ bite. Works well for traditional vegetable risottos.
Carnaroli is often labelled as long grain risotto rice, but it’s still classified as short grain rice. The preferred choice by many chefs as it has a low stickiness which helps the rice hold its shape while still having the ability to absorb flavours. Delivers the best presentation and works well for both vegetable and meat risottos.
Vialone Nano is a short plump rice that has the ability to soak up two to three times it weight in liquid and like the Arborio rice it still presents that desirable ‘al dente’ bite when cooked. Works well for light creamy fish based risottos.
If you have the right type of rice in your kitchen cupboard that recipe will work even better. Enjoy.
Waitrose Cooks’ Ingredients Carnaroli Risotto Rice
Sainsbury’s Arborio Risotto Rice
Arborio is the classic risotto rice, not as plump as Carnaroli risotto rice when cooked, but if you want to make a traditional vegetable risotto – it is the one to use. Put it in the trolley
Riso Gallo Vialone Nano Risotto Rice
Riso Gallo is one of the leading brands on the shelves. As good as you’ll find anywhere, so if the style, size and price fits – put it in the trolley.