Arborio rice is classified as a medium grain of high-quality ideal for preparing those meals that require a special texture.
That is why it has been recognized as the best main ingredient of risotto.
Find in this post what arborio rice is, how to cook it and some nutrition facts.
Arborio rice is medium grain because of its length-to-width ratio and its starch characteristics. It has a round shape and a strong structure with a typical white spot in the center of the grain.
It is creamy, delicious and quite apt to prepare different homemade recipes, either on the stove top or in a rice cooker. Cooked at its peak it offers a tender texture, with an al dente core, retaining its shape, doubling its volume, and whitening even more.
It is one of the types of Italian rice used to prepare risotto since it is ideal for achieving the desired texture of this famous dish. That is due to its high starch content and its capacity to absorb a large amount of liquid.
How to cook arborio rice
When cooking arborio rice, abundant liquid is required (generally vegetable, chicken or beef broth) and about 20 minutes to reach the correct cooking point. The objective is to obtain a dish of creamy texture.
It is appropriate to use it with chicken broth and Parmesan cheese. Also, you can use it to make rice pudding in the oven.
The starch release process of this variety of rice is key to the creaminess of risotto, and it occurs if it is cooked slowly with a hot liquid added little by little.
Like with pasta, you must prepare arborio rice al dente, which means it should be slightly firm to the bite, i.e.: a little less cooked than you would cook normal white rice.
As to risotto preparation, it should not be left to stand for a long time, as the starch will immediately begin to freeze, causing it to become stiff and sticky.
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Nutrition and health
Nutritional benefits of arborio rice are multiple, among them:
- Excellent source of energy, since it provides the best quality energy thanks to its richness in carbohydrates (73%).
- Supply of vitamins and minerals: A portion of 80 grams of uncooked rice provides 30% of the magnesium required per day, a quarter of the vitamins B3 and B6, a fifth of B1 and B5 and up to 16% of folic acid.
- Gluten-free proteins: Although it has less protein than wheat (8% compared to 11.5%), it is a very usable and digestible protein, with a considerable amount of tryptophan and lysine. However, it is recommended to supplement them with proteins from legumes, eggs or dairy products.
This nutritional composition provides a number of health benefits:
- Helps your body to function normally.
- Helps you stay in shape, preventing diseases.
- Contributes to transporting nutrients from the digestive tract to other areas of the body.
- Stimulates the formation of enzymes and hormones for a better regulation of functions.
- Contributes to protecting organ tissue.
Although risotto may be the most common use of arborio rice, there are other dishes in which this creamy rice type is an ideal ingredient.
While many types of rice require rinsing before cooking, arborio is an exception. Rinsing would remove the starch layer that creates the creamy texture when cooked. Therefore, arborio rice should only be rinsed if it is used in a recipe that calls for fluffy, loose rice.