Local source for carnaroli rice
I've been using arborio for risotto (smoked salmon and mascarpone) and was always really pleased with the result.
Then I had a risotto dish at Alinea in Chicago made with carnaroli rice (butter and white truffles) and I liked the texture of this much better. I'm sure I can't duplicate Achatz' risotto to the T since I'm not making my own stock (among other obvious reasons -- he's one of the world's best chefs) but I'd like to try carnaroli just to see how it works with my salmon and mascarpone.
So, does anyone know of stores that carry this rice in Phoenix? Maybe A.J.'s?
LOL ... so you're saying it was probably the difference in chefs (me vs Grant Achatz) and not the difference in the kind of rice! I can understand that point of view :)
If I can get some nearby (A.J.'s is about 3 miles away) I'll try it but if not I'll take the hint and stick with the arborio. Thanks for the post.
AJ's probably will, though I couldn't say for certain. Andreoli in Scottsdale and La Dolce Vita in Mesa certainly will, and Dolce Vita usually carries Acquarello, which is an especially delicious and creamy type of Carnaroli rice. You might also want to give Vialone Nano a try if you can find it. It's very popular in the Veneto -- harder to come by here -- and makes an especially creamy, loose, soupy risotto.
Incidentally, while I can't say whether it was the rice itself of the preparation that you found so compelling, I respectfully disagree with Jock when it comes to the differences between the types of rice. Between subsets of Carnaroli, perhaps the differences are subtle. But I think the difference between Arborio and Carnaroli is pretty stark, to say nothing of the difference between Arborio and Vialone Nano. No value judgement -- the different types all have their charms and I'm not suggesting one is *better* -- but they're very different. There are other subsets and lesser-known varieties as well, but I'm not qualified speak outside of those mentioned.
Incidentally, if you get some Carnaroli, Acquarello, or Vialone Nano, be prepared to use twice as much liquid as you would for the same recipe with Arborio. If you're used to cooking Arborio, you'll be *shocked* by how quickly some of the others soak up liquid. You just keep adding, and adding, and adding, and suddenly you're out of stock and the rice isn't done yet.
Thanks for the tips, esp about extra stock. Off to A.J.'s this afternoon and I'll look for the other types you mention as well.
The arborio recipe I use calls for 1/2 cup of white wine, then six cups of stock for 2 cups of rice. 12 cups of stock seems way out there but I'll read the instructions carefully and go with what the package suggests.
OK, A.J.'s in Chandler (near Ray Road & I-10) had a good supply and I picked up 1000 g bags of Carnaroli and Vialone Nano.
I'll try one on Tuesday with our standard luxe risotto preparation using leeks, butter and white wine as the base and smoked salmon with mascarpone cheese blended in at the end.
Thanks to all who posted.
To close the loop here, I made our standard luxe risotto with mascarpone and smoked salmon as the final toppings with the carnaroli rice instead of arborio.
For sure I could see the effects of the extra starch but it didn't have an earth shattering effect on the final product. It was better but not as much better as I had hoped, especially compared to what we had at Alinea. A 1000 g bag cost about $1 more for this at A.J.'s than for Arborio at Frys.
Here's a photo of the Alinea dish that got me started on this quest for the ultimate risotto ... garnished with extra butter and covered with white truffles. It was an add-on dish for an outrageous extra cost (you could go to Kai and order the most expensive app, 2nd app, main dish and dessert for what this single truffle dish cost at Alinea - $125) but I have to say it was worth it for a special occasion (birthday).
So creamy and yet each grain of rice was distinct. So rich with the butter and truffles ...