In Italy rice is rarely seen as a side dish; it is an actual ingredient used in both traditional and more innovative dishes. Timbales, risotto, supplì stuffed rice balls, rice meatballs, rice salads…The Italian regional culinary tradition features plenty of recipes with rice. Nowadays we can find many rice cultivars on the market and luckily, the general public is getting to know many rice companies.
Italian rice production accounts for 52% of European rice production. 60% of Italian rice grown in Italy is exported everywhere in the world. The top rice-producing regions are Piedmont, Lombardy, Veneto, Emilia-Romagna, and Sardinia, as well as two small areas in Tuscany and Calabria. Let’s plunge into the world of Italian rice.
Arborio is an Italian rice variety that's mostly used for risottos and rice puddings. The short, rounded grains are firm and have a high content of starch, resulting in creamy textures of dishes that the rice is used in.
It should be cooked al dente, while still slightly firm to the bite, and never washed or rinsed as it will lose the starchy coating that creates the creamy and slightly chewy texture once cooked.
Carnaroli is an Italian rice variety that's mostly used for the preparation of risotto. It's characterized by a short grain, smaller than the one of Arborio rice, and high starch content. As a result, Carnaroli rice can absorb liquids without becoming overcooked, creating the creamy texture that's a characteristic of great risottos.
RISO DEL DELTA DEL PO
Produced within the provinces of Rovigo and Ferrara, in the neighboring regions of Veneto and Emilia Romagna, Riso del Delta del Po refers to the rice of the Japonica type grown in the fertile Po Delta plains. Due to specific pedoclimatic conditions and high levels of salinity in that area, each of the Po Delta rice varieties attains a unique flavor and aroma.
The traditional Baldo rice variety is also long-grain rice and is part of the PGI rice varieties of the Po river delta. It is very similar to Roma variety - also long-grain rice type; that’s why it is called Roma-Baldo rice.
Baldo rice features a translucent grain and is a ‘young’ variety. It is coveted by great chefs to prepare salads and traditional risottos from Piedmont.
VIALONE NANO RICE
Vialone Nano rice features a rounder and pearlier grain; that’s why it is classified as a common rice grain. Vialone Nano is cultivated in the region Veneto and the Vialone Nano Veronese has obtained the PGI denomination.
These rice grains have a pearly finish, are rather squat, and perfectly absorb condiments. It is a historic Italian rice cultivar with excellent cooking properties, and it’s used in many Venetian traditional recipes.
By placing an order of Italian Rice through the IICCI, you will benefit from a 10% discount on the products' MRP. If you are a member of the IICCI and/or of the IICCI's Italics Wine Clubs in India, you will be eligible for a 25% discount!
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Credit: Italybite, Taste Atlas