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Feb 12, 2005 10:59 PM

risotto - what kind of rice?

  • l

embarassed to admit, i still havent figured out the who cooking with rice thing, as in, what type to use for what, as i almost never cook with rice.

so im thinking about making risotto for a family gather tomorrow, and happen to have a few boxes of long grain rice laying around. can i use this?

most recipes call for arborio - whats the difference?


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  1. Here's a site that should be helpful.

    I don't use rice very often, so I hope others that due will be able to explain the differences.


    1. The original comment has been removed
      1. You can't use long grain for risotto. According to Faith Willinger the best rice for risotto is carnaroli or vialone nano.

        1. There are three broad categories of rice, long, medium, and short grain rice. The general rule of thumb is the shorter the grain, the starchier the rice (and short grain rices will have a more glutinous quality to them). As listed on dt's link, Arborio (and other traditional risotto rices such as Carnaroli and Vialone Nano) are medium grain rices that are starchier than regular long grain rices.

          As a result, if you try to make risotto with long grain rices, several results are likely to occur:

          a) Your rice will not be creamy and rich as there's not enough starch in the rice to be released during cooking

          b) The texture of the rice grains themselves will be different, lending a (for lack of better term) grainier texture to the dish.

          If you wish to make a rice dish, a good long grain rice dish to make is a pilaf/pulao or biryani. One of the pillars of Persian cuisine is their beautiful steamed rice made with a long grain variety. Some saffron, dill weed, barberry are things you can put to make delicious Persian rices.

          1. I have been using short or medium grain California pearl rice...some people seem to think the Italian Arborio tastes better. Maybe because it costs so much more. Never understood that principle, "if it costs more, it must be better."

            2 Replies
            1. re: Jim H.

              I'd also like to try Risotto. Do I need to rinse the pearl rice?

              1. re: geekgirl

                Don't rinse rice to make risotto - it removes the starch which creates the creaminess you seek to achieve. That said, I don't think that arborio/other Italian risotto rices are that much more expensive than other short grain rice - worth at least trying once.