Italian Rice, arborio and beyond
Italian rice has a long, deep-rooted history in the country, and is one of the fundamental Italian staple foods. Particularly in the northwest in the Italian regions of Piemonte and Lombardia, types of rice often push pasta to the back of the menu for i primi. This area alone accounts for 80% of the Italian rice harvest, though other important cultivation areas are found in Veneto and Sardinia.
Italian rice is the most predominantly consumed throughout Europe, with Italy as the EU’s top producer. Two out of every three grains eaten on the continent are directly traceable to Italian production. There are 126 types of rice entered into the Italian national register, which makes it the ultimate in variation. It is also a symbol of quality and wholesomeness.
Italian rice types can be broken down into four categories. Riso comune includes varietals Balilla, Cripta and Rubino. Semifino is slightly longer and is distinguished by varieties like Lido, Titanio and Vialone nano. Fino is more tapered including Ribe, Veneria and S. Andrea. Superfino is much larger and rounder marked by the fame of Arborio, Baldo and Roma.
Cooking times and recipes depend almost exclusively on size. Due to its unique health and nutrition attributes, it is an indispensable part of the Italian diet.