Arborio rice: Arborio rice [ar-BOH-ree-oh] is named after a town in the Piedmont and Lombardy regions of northwest Italy. A short grain Italian white rice, Arborio is popular in risotto and other Italian rice dishes. Arborio's short, plump grains contain more starch than most other rice varieties, which makes it ideal for starchy rice dishes like risotto. It is also well suited for rice dishes where the rice must retain a shape, like sushi. It's pearly appearance and short, fat grains are expected to be served slightly al dente, still firm inside. It can be ground into a flour and added to dishes that require a creamy consistency.
Arborio rice is a variety of the Japonica subspecies of Oryza Sativa. Most commonly found white, it is also available in a brown rice version which does not contain as much starch and is not well suited for risotto. Arborio comes in Italian and domestic varieties, domestic varieties are grown primarily in California. It is the most popular rice used in risotto in the U.S., but other varieties of rice can be used like Carnaroli or Vialone Nano. Risotto starts with toated rice, it is cooked briefly in butter or oil before the liquid is added. The cooking process requires some effort so that a creamy consistency is obtained, adding the liquid a bit at a time while stirring instead of all at once as with traditional rice. The quality of the risotto relies heavily on the stock used to cook the rice, and the other ingredients added. But once you've mastered the techniques it is not difficult to make.
Arborio Rice Facts: