My Recipe Box

Rice Alternatives for Risotto

by Jennifer Armentrout

fromFine Cooking
Issue 48

Though it’s often listed as the only choice in recipes, Arborio isn’t the only rice you can use to make authentic risotto. Vialone Nano, Baldo, and Carnaroli rices are other I talian short-grain varieties that make terrific risotto, and in some parts of Italy, they’re preferred over Arborio. After trying each of them, I’ve come to adore Carnaroli. It’s a smaller grain than Arborio with a super-high starch content, which means that it can absorb huge amounts of liquid without overcooking, so it gives you the ultra-creamy yet toothsome texture that is the hallmark of a superior risotto.  

The Principato di Lucedio estate near Turin, Italy, produces and exports all these rice varieties to North America. I suggest you experiment with them to find your favorite. Call 877-337-2491 or order online at All varieties come in 1.1-pound bags. Carnaroli is $6, Vialone Nano is $5.25, and Baldo is $4.50 (plus shipping).

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