This is one of the most popular rice varieties in Italy, thanks to its shape and texture. The plump grain rice maintains its consistency throughout cooking. During cooking, the heat penetrates the most peripheral area of the grain, leaving the central core (rich in starch) ‘al dente’.
This is what makes it suitable for all types of risottos, which can be deliciously creamy, as well as for timbales and ‘supplì’ (Rome’s mozzarella-filled rice croquettes). Arborio rice is named after the town of the same name in Vercelli where it was first selected in 1946, derived from the Vialone cultivar.
Even today, these areas of the Po Valley are the largest producers of Arborio rice.
Roma rice has distinctive, large, rounded grains. Particularly suited for creamy risottos and oven-baked dishes.
When making a risotto, the rice should be only stirred occasionally and delicately so that the starch is released gently, creating a creamy consistency which is the common feature of the best risottos. The risotto can be left unattended almost to the end of cooking only if a tin-plated copper pan is used which spreads the heat evenly both on the bottom and the sides.
Vacuum-packing prevents the rice from changing and preserves the colour, flavour and nutritional values of the grain.