Arborio Rice, The Secret Of Risotto’s Creaminess! Tips To Cook
Image Credit: Arborio rice cooked as risotto, Pexels

Of the short Italian rice varieties belonging to the species Oryza sativa japonica, Arborio rice has its prominence. The rice is called after the region of Arborio in the Piedmont of north-western Italy. The rich creaminess of risotto can be attributed to its high amylopectin starch content. The average size of these white, oval grains is a quarter of an inch. Arborio rice comes in white (refined) and brown (unrefined) varieties, with the latter being the more popular choice because of its higher starch content.

Arborio rice is particularly rich in the starch amylopectin. This starch is released while cooking, making the rice more substantial than other types of rice and chewier and creamier in texture. The natural starch content of arborio is higher than that of regular long-grain rice since it is processed less. The price of arborio rice is about twice as much as that of long-grain white rice.

Nutrition, flavour, and feel

Arborio rice, like other types of white rice, contains virtually no nutrition outside a high carbohydrate content, roughly about 50 grams per cup (around 17 per cent of your recommended daily value). Nutritionally, brown arborio rice (which contains bran and fibre) is superior to white arborio. Nevertheless, because of its lower starch content, the former variant's use in risotto will be less creamy. To enhance the nutritional value of your meal, try cooking your Arborio rice in chicken or vegetable stock.

Uncooked arborio rice, Image Source:iStock

Arborio rice's culinary applications

Rice pudding, porridge, and other starchy treats benefit from Arborio rice's velvety texture, making it famous in risotto. When prepared in the same manner as different short-grain kinds of rice—in a rice cooker or using the absorption process on the stovetop rather than the slow risotto technique, Arborio will not soak as much water

Microwave cooking

Stir together 2 cups of water, salt, oil or butter, and 1 cup of rice in a microwave-safe bowl to prepare a microwaveable serving of Arborio rice. Cover, but make sure there's enough venting for steam, and simmer for about 5 minutes or until al dente.

Here's the lowdown on making Arborio Rice for everyday use

Arborio rice can be prepared in the same way as white rice. Over medium heat, bring 2 cups of salted water to a boil in a mid-size saucepan or pot with a heavy bottom. Return to a boil, add a tablespoon of oil or butter, and then stir in a cup of Arborio rice. The heat should be turned down to medium-low, and the pot should be covered. Rice should be cooked for about 20 minutes at a low simmer or until it reaches an "al dente" texture.

Cooking arborio rice the conventional way for white rice by combining equal parts water and rice in a saucepan and allowing it to simmer until the water is absorbed would yield edible rice but leave the arborio lacking in its trademark creaminess. The creaminess of arborio comes from the starch being released during cooking; this can only be done with a slow cooking method that involves gradually adding hot liquid. Arborio rice can soak up to 6 cups of liquid without turning mushy so a pound will go a long way.

Creamy risotto dish, Image Source: Pexels

Arborio rice instructions for risotto

To preserve the starch content of your risotto, avoid rinsing your Arborio rice like you would with other rice types. Add roughly 5 cups of water or broth to 1 cup of rice in a big pan or Dutch oven and let it simmer on low heat, covered until the rice is done. You must check it every few minutes to ensure it has absorbed all the fluid before adding more.

Keeping Arborio al dente

Cooking process of Arborio rice, must follow steps like pasta, is typically served al dente. The term denotes it is cooked until somewhat firm to the biting. This is slightly less done than regular white rice. If you're preparing risotto, you shouldn't let it sit for more than a few minutes at a time since the starch will immediately start to solidify, which will cause the dish to become stiff, rubbery and sticky.