Arborio rice is a variety of short-grained rice used primarily in the classical preparation of risotto. Originally cultivated in Italy, today it's grown in California and Texas, too.
Arborio Rice Characteristics:
Short, fat and slightly oval-shaped, arborio rice has a pearly white exterior. There are various size designations, of which superfino, the largest grain size, is the one most commonly used in the United States.
Arborio Rice Starch Content:
Because it undergoes less milling than ordinary long-grained rice, it retains more of its natural starch content. Cooking releases this starch, giving risotto its creamy consistency. A pound of arborio rice can absorb up to 6 cups of liquid without becoming mushy.
Cooking Arborio Rice:
Like pasta, arborio rice is prepared al dente
, which means that it should be slightly firm to the bite — which is a little bit less done than you would cook ordinary white rice. Here are a few great risotto recipes:
Also, here's a step-by-step tutorial on how to make risotto