8 Ways to Use Italian Rice
The ultimate culinary canvas from Italy
A Great Italian Grain
Italy is Europe’s largest rice producer, accounting for 5% of the total world rice production. Rice is found throughout Italian cuisine—from the traditional risotti of the northern regions (home to the Po River Valley where Italian rice is grown) to arancini, a popular snack on the southern island of Sicily. Rice is beloved in Italy and offers cooks a wide variety of ways to enjoy it.
Why the many varieties?
Each variety has a unique character and lends itself to different styles of preparation:
Carnaroli: The "King of Italian Rice" has the longest, thickest grain of superfino rice, and maintains an al dente bite long after cooking. Use it where rice is the star, such as in Risotto in Bianco.
Arborio: The quintessential Italian variety, pillowy and fine, is a perfect base for absorbing flavors. Use it to make a creamy risotto or a rice salad.
Vialone Nano: The small, round pebble-shaped grains of Vialone Nano are a favorite of Venetians, and are commonly served with squid ink. Ideal with any kind of seafood.
Nero Venere (Black Rice): A hybrid of Chinese black rice and Italian rice. It has a rich, nutty flavor and stunning color. Perfect for a rice salad.
8 Ways with Riso Italiano:
- Master the basic Risotto in Bianco* (Basic Risotto, pg. 179), featuring the “King of Italian Rice” Carnaroli.
- Save the stems from your greens and make Risotto Verdissimo* (The Greenest Risotto, pg. 184).
- Snack on Carnaroli Cacio e Pepe – a riso al salto-style treat that can be made with leftover risotto or freshly boiled rice.
- Wow your friends with a showstopping Corona di Riso Detto Sartù* (Stuffed Rice Crown, pg. 189)—a rice dish made into a ring and stuffed full of treasures like polpettini (small meatballs), peas, and other delights.
- Boil rice as you would pasta, then assemble The Contessa’s Rice Salad* (pg. 186). Ensure every chopped ingredient is the same shape and size as a grain of rice.
- Celebrate il Tricolore (the Italian flag) with an Arborio Insalata Caprese.
- Let seafood inspire you in Vialone Nano alle Vongole, a modern take on soupy seafood stew.
- Indulge in the Roman street food supplì al telefono (similar to Sicily's famous arancini), named for the long strings of mozzarella that stretch as the supplì are pulled apart.
*Recipes from AUTENTICO: Cooking Italian, the Authentic Way by Rolando Beramendi
Stock up and buy it freschissimo!
Single-estate, and harvest-dated, Principato di Lucedio is the "grand cru" of rice. The estate has a legacy dating back to the 12th century when it was home to Cistercian monks who developed a system of canals and first planted rice. To ensure freshness, Principato di Lucedio keeps their rice protected in the hull until packaged and shipped to Manicaretti.