Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Vialone nano

Many people think that Arborio is synonymous with risotto rice, or the only rice for risotto. Actually, there are various short- or medium- grain rices that are used by Italians in making the popular Northern dish. Never use your standard long grain.

Having lived so long in the Veneto, my favorite is Vialone nano (VEE-ah-loh-neh NAH-noh). It is a short and fat little fellow that grows even fatter upon cooking, to twice its size, and produces a nice, creamy result. Try alternating Arborio, Carnaroli (generally the most expensive), and our little dwarf (the meaning of "nano") to see which one you prefer. This variety goes well with the risottos of the Veneto, which feature mainly vegetables or seafood. I made a shrimp risotto yesterday with baby shrimp using Curtiriso brand, and it turned out very nicely.