Hi There! Ever wondered what is better between Carnaroli rice vs. Arborio rice and why? Find out the differences in this amazing post. Ok
The Hype About Carnaroli Rice
Grown in the Novara, Pavia and Vercelli areas of Northern Italy, Carnaroli is a medium sized rice grain. It is normally used for making risotto. This rice grain has better shape retainment than other forms of rice which are used to slow cook the risotto because of the high content of amylose found in it.
It is easy to get your hands on if you are in Italy and is the most commonly used rice there. However because of its value it is also highly prized.
Carnaroli is not a heirloom grain but rather was developed in 1945 as a hybrid of Lencino and Vialone Nano. Its fine taste and quality is considered to be so perfect by some people that they tend to describe it as “the king of rice”.
Try out this recipe below to find out the essence of the Carnaroli rice!
Spanish Paella with Carnaroli Rice
For this finger licking good recipe you will need just a few items:
- A tablespoon of olive oil
- Red bell pepper, diced
- Green bell pepper, diced
- An onion, diced
- Chick peas, 1/4 lb
- 1/4 lb beef, cut into cubes
- Chicken breast 1/4 lb, cut into cubes
- 1/4 pound chorizo sausage, cut into cubes
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- Saffron (pinch)
- 2 cups Carnaroli rice
- Juice from 1 lemon
How to Cook:
- You should pick out a large heavy skillet for this one because in it will we do all the cooking. Heat up some olive oil in it on medium high heat to sauté the peppers and onions until they turn translucent.
- Next, add the chick peas and meats to the sautéed peppers and onions in the pan.
- Keep stirring it till it mixes thoroughly and the meat is cooked. You should stop only once the onion is golden in color.
- In another pan, mix the vegetable broth and the saffron together until the saffron steeps in the broth. The saffron will infuse the amazing color into the dish.
- Add the rice and stir until well coated. When the rice seems to be well toasted, throw in some saffron infused broth and then stir.
- Make sure to cover this with a tight lid. Let it cook on low to medium heat for 17 minutes.
- Serve it in a large platter with lemon juice sprinkled on top of the rice
Arborio Rice- The Food Paparazzi
Arborio rice on the other hand greatly differs from the one mentioned above largely because of its shorter grain size. Its name comes from the town of Arborio. It is also grown in some areas of America such as Arkansas, California, and Missouri.
After it is cooked, the grains tend to firm, creamy and chewy. It also has high amylopectin starch content which gives it a starchy taste. It also tends to blend nicely with other added flavors. This grain is also used to make risotto but is more commonly known for rice pudding.
Try out this parmesan risotto recipe below if you want to really get to know arborio rice!
- 5 cups chicken stock
- 1 and 1/2 tbsp olive oil extra-virgin
- A cup onion diced
- 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice uncooked
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 4 oz Parmesan grated
- 1 tbsp parsley chopped
How to Cook:
- The first thing you need to do is to bring the stock to a simmer in a large saucepan.
- Let it warm up on low heat. However make sure that it doesn’t boil.
- Meanwhile, heat your oven on medium temperature. Drizzle some oil in the pot and swirl it around so the pot is completely coated.
- To this you will add onion and cook it for five minutes till it turns golden brown.
- Next, add in the Arborio rice with salt, 1/2 cup stock and cook for two minutes. Wait for the liquid to absorb a bit.
- Then mix in the remaining stock slowly over the cooking process and keep stiring it for the next 20-25 minutes so nothing sticks or settles at the bottom of the pan.
- Remove the pot from stove and add in butter, parmesan cheese and black pepper. For an added kick of flavor, you can top it off with parsley.
Who Won the Risotto Battle?
Now you must be wondering where the differences in each lie and which one you should go for if you are looking for the perfect rice.
To make this comparison easier, we are going to see which one results in better risotto since both claim to be the perfect ingredient for it.
To make great risotto you need the rice to be perfectly chewy and creamy but not mushy. Carnaroli rice has higher starch content along with a firmer texture than the arborio rice.
This gives us a creamier risotto, which is not even that prone to overcooking. The grains also tend to retain their shape a lot better and are longer in size which is a definite advantage. They also will not be prone to breaking if you stir them during the cooking process.
So while arborio rice have that tendency to go from seemingly perfectly cooked to tasting mushy after a few seconds, the Carnaroli rice hold a repute for holding on to their texture after some time and while stirring. However this does not mean that Arborio rice are all bad.
They make for a great ingredient for rice puddings because of their mushy texture. You can use it to make some classic dishes such as Mango sticky rice, Butternut Squash Risotto cakes and Dam Pokh Tak, the famous Persian golden rice.
Here’s a video on how to cook mushroom risotto using carnaroli rice!
Apart from their taste and texture, the two other factors you need to consider to make your purchasing decision are how much they will cost you and what are their storage capabilities. You can check out how to store rice properly here.
Carnaroli are in high demand but are found in rare quantities therefore usually cost more. Being a dried grain they don’t require a lot of care until they are opened.
Then you need to look out for hygiene of the storage area to keep them safe from moisture and insects.
The final verdict
Both these rice have a high Carbohydrate content along with some Protein and Dietary Fiber. They also have other nutrients like Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus and Zinc. Moreover, they are gluten free and low fat which make them a healthy rice option.
Nevertheless, if either of these rice fails to satisfy you, you still have more varieties of rice to experiment with. You can check out the previous post about arborio rice substitutes to get more options on other risotto alternatives.