Arborio Rice
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Arborio Rice, is a medium grain rice, from Italy. Arborio Rice is also described as either an "Italian Rice" or "Risotto Rice."

The Arborio grain takes its name from the town of Arborio along the Po River Valley in the Northern Italian province of Vercelli. Arborio Rice was first bred in 1946 when a Japonica Rice cultivar (presumably the American strain Lady Wright Rice), was paired with an Italian Vialone Rice. The resultant Arborio Rice grain was larger (in fact it is the largest of the Italian Risotto Rices) and chunkier with abundant Amylopectin Starch, and had a smaller, harder central white “perla” (pearl) of Amylose Starch.

Due to the makeup of its starch content, Arborio Rice can absorb flavors and still produce a creamy texture: the Amylopectin melts away with cooking heat and gelatinizes in the pot. The knock against Arborio Rice is it dosen't hold its shape and structure extremely well, due to the relatively small amount of Amylose (12.90%) in the grain. If overcooked, and it’s easy to do, Arborio Rice will take on a mushy texture and porridge-like consistency.

Season

Rice in Italy, is sown in the Spring and harvested in the Fall.

Production

Italy is the largest Rice producer in Europe and Arborio Rice makes up about 10% of their Rice crop (primarily in the Piedmonte and Emilia-Romagna regions), which is why Arborio is easily available and less expensive than other types of Italian Rice. In the United States, Arborio Rice is grown in Arkansas, California, and Missouri.

During production, most Arborio Rice is mechanically polished (milled) to remove the Rice Bran and create a White Rice version of Arborio. The machinery can produce chipped and broken grains. Some Arborio Rice is not processed and you can find Brown Rice versions of Arborio as well.

Purchasing

Arborio Rice is the most widely available Italian Rice/Risotto Rice on grocers’ shelves. It's typically Superfino” (the plumpest grain). Most well-stocked grocers will carry it. Because it is so abundant, it should not be outrageously expensive. You may also find domestic and imported varieties. The domestic Arborio Rice will most likely come from California.

If you don’t see Arborio Rice on the shelf, check the “Risotto Rice,” which is usually a package put together for marketing purposes that is made up of Arborio Rice.

Arborio Rice is most commonly found as a White Rice (in packages or even in bulk bins) but can be found as a Brown Rice. If you are planning on making anything creamy, like Risotto or Rice Pudding, skip the Brown Rice. With the Rice Bran intact, it won’t leak Amylopectin and get creamy.

When purchasing Rice, always check the expiration date as Rice can go bad if stored too long.

While selecting your Rice, keep an eye out for any signs of moisture which can ruin Rice.

Also, try and buy as few broken grains of Rice as possible. Broken grains are smaller than whole grains and the two sizes won’t cook uniformly together, making your final dish a mess of overdone and underdone Rice.

Storage

Arborio Rice is typically found as a White Rice type, which is a dried Grain that doesn’t require very much diligence to store. An unopened container of White Arborio Rice will keep almost indefinitely in a pantry at room temperature, in the refrigerator, or frozen.

Once opened, the only real risks to the shelf life are moisture and pests, including bugs and rats. Keeping the container sealed and airtight can protect against both of these.

Let cooked Arborio Rice (assuming it is not used in a Risotto with a variety of ingredients) cool to room temperature before storing it in the refrigerator. Cooked Arborio Rice will last about 3-5 days in the refrigerator, but it is best to use it within 2 days.

Culinary Uses

On its own, Arborio Rice has a starchy, bland, neutral taste but it blends well with other flavors, soaking them up easily because it is so absorbent. In fact, Arborio Rice is almost twice as absorbent as an average Long Grain White Rice. Specifically, Arborio Rice will require 3-4 cups of Simmering Liquid when cooking for every cup of Arborio Rice. In comparison, Long Grain White Rice will only absorb 2 cups of liquid for each cup of Long Grain White Rice.

The absorptive capacity and its starch makeup mean that Arborio Rice will have a creamy texture when cooked.

As such, Arborio Rice (typically milled White Arborio Rice) is best suited for making rich, creamy Risotto, though it can lose structure and get mushy if overcooked (and it is easily overcooked). Risotto Milanese was originally created using Arborio Rice.

If using Arborio Rice for Risotto, you should not pre-rinse it. The running water will leach off some of the outer layer of Starch (Amylopectin). Remember that Arborio Rice does not have as much the Amylopectin as other Italian Rice varieties. It's the Amylopectin, which gelatinizes in cooking heat and makes that creamy, Risotto texture.

Arborio Rice is also a good call for use in Soup, Arancini di Riso, and Rice Pudding. It can be used in Paella and Rice Pilaf too but the results may be a bit softer and creamier than you expected.

Also, if you are Thickening Sauces or Soups, milled Arborio Rice Flour can thicken and add creaminess to your product.

Nutritional Value USDA
RICE,WHITE,MEDIUM-GRAIN,RAW,UNENR
Amount Per 100g
Calories 360
%Daily Value*
 
0%
Total Fat 0g
0%
Saturated Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
0%
Cholesterol 0mg
0%
Sodium 1mg
1%
Potassium 86mg
26%
Total Carbohydrate 79g
0%
Dietary Fiber 0g
Sugars 0g
Protein 6g
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Nutrition

Arborio Rice is Cholesterol-Free, Sodium-Free, Gluten-Free, and has very little fat.

Gluten Free

Yes

Low Fat

Yes

Low Calorie

Yes