Arborio Rice for Italian Risotto
Arborio rice is an Italian rice variety used to make an Arborio rice risotto, and comes from the most important cultivation area for this crop both in Italy and Europe. It originates in the little village of Arborio nestled in the region of Piemonte in the northwest of the country where the valley of the Po River begins its long journey from the Alps to the Adriatic coast.
Arborio rice is like an Italian pearl due to its shorter, rounder shape compared to other Italian types, as well as its characteristic color. This positive metaphor is reinforced by the delectable transformation that takes place during preparation. The higher starch content that results from its unique production process leads to the release of amylopectin, giving Arborio rice the uncanny ability to blend and absorb flavors so fundamental to making an excellent risotto.
Cooking an Arborio risotto is similar to pasta, that is it must remain al dente, or firmer than what you would expect from its simpler, whiter counterparts. Arborio rice cooks in approximately 18 minutes and is often prepared with asparagus, artichokes, shellfish, saffron, green onions, meat and of course a healthy dose of red or white wine.