Vialone Nano Rice
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Vialone Nano Rice is a hybrid variety of Italian Rice developed in 1937 by breeding Vialone Rice together with Nano Rice. The result was a shorter Rice plant so the appellation “Nano,” which means “dwarf” in Italian, was appropriate. The product of the Vialone Nano Rice plant was a Medium Grain Rice with a Semifino (‘semi-fine’) rounded kernel, a smaller outer layer of Amylopectin Starch and a decent-sized, strong, hard inner “pearl” (“perla” in Italian) of Amylose Starch (23.9%).

Because of the mix of inner and outer starches, Vialone Nano Rice is appreciated for its softness and less “grainy” texture. When cooked, it has good absorptive properties (it can hold twice its weight in liquid), holds its shape almost as well as Carnaroli Rice, and does a good job absorbing other flavors from added ingredients. Vialone Nano is most often specified for traditional Risotto recipes because it makes a creamy dish with recognizable individuated grains.

Vialone Nano Rice is the preferred Rice type in Veneto, whereas most of the rest of Italy prefers Arborio Rice

Season

Vialone Nana Rice is sown in the early Spring, browns up in mid-August and is ready for harvest in late September.

Cultivation

See Smart Kitchen’s General Rice Resource for more Rice cultivation information.

Production

See Smart Kitchen’s General Rice Resource for more Rice production information.

Purchasing

Vialone Nano Rice is not found as commonly as Arborio Rice but it can be found. Most Vialone Nano is imported from Italy so it will be more expensive than that box of Uncle Ben’s ®.

If you can’t find Vialone Nano Rice at your local store, check a Specialty Grocer with a strong Italian food section, an Italian Grocer, or the Internet. We have purchased and used Vialone Nano Rice and the organic Vialone Nano Rice (these links go to Amazon) and been happy with the results. Both are imported from Italy and at less cost. Vialone Nano Rice is aged and considered the Bentley of Risotto Rice (this link also goes to Amazon).

Vialone Nano Rice is generally available as White Rice in prepackaged containers. If you are looking at the Rice in a transparent package, Vialone Nano Rice grains will be smaller sized with more of a white outer starch layer.

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

Vialone Nano Rice is typically found as a White Rice type, which is a dried Grain that doesn’t require much diligence to store. An unopened container of White Vialone Nano 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 Vialone Nano 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 Vialone Nano Rice will last about 3-5 days in the refrigerator but it is best to use it within 2 days. If it is used in a Risotto, follow the Storage Guidelines for storing the Risotto.

Culinary Uses

Some Italian Chefs swear by Vialone Nano Rice as their Risotto Rice. Others prefer Carnaroli Rice. In actual fact, both are pretty good (and pretty expensive).

The major difference is that Vialone Nano Rice has a smaller grain, cooks faster, and is better at absorbing flavors and sauces. Vialone Nano needs to be watched to make sure it doesn’t get overcooked. Vialone Nano Rice is a good choice for Risotto if you like the final dish to be served “Al Dente” with individually recognizable Rice grains. Overall, Vialone Nano strikes a good balance between recognizable individual grains and creaminess.

Vialone Nano Rice pairs well with Vegetables such as Pumpkin, Mushroom, Asparagus, etc. It also pairs well with Meats, including Seafood. Smart Kitchen’s Recipe for Seafood Risotto is a good example. 

If using Vialone 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 Amylopectin Gelatinizes in cooking heat and makes that creamy Risotto texture.

Nutritional Value

Serving Size: 1/4 cup (dry) (45 g)

Calories 160

Calories from Fat 10%

Total Fat 1 g 2%

Saturated Fat 0 g 0%

Trans Fat 0 g

Cholesterol 0 mg 0%

Sodium 0 mg 0%

Total Carbohydrate 35 g 12%

Dietary Fiber 1 g 4%

Sugars 0 g

Protein 5 g

Gluten Free

Yes

Low Fat

Yes

Low Calorie

Yes