c and its resistance to cooking, which make it ideal for the preparation of long-cooked foods such as the traditional risotto.
The characteristics of Carnaroli rice: let’s get to know it better
The Carnaroli rice variety is one of the historical varieties of Italian rice cultivation and is included among those that can be cultivated with Protected Designation of Origin in the Biellese Baraggia and Vercelli, while with Protected Geographical Indication it can be grown in the Po Delta.
The cultivation area of Carnaroli rice has always been rather limited and today it is concentrated mainly in the Pavese, Lomellina and in the province of Vercelli. More marginal is the cultivation in the provinces of Milan, Novara and Verona.
Carnaroli rice finds its origins in 1945 in the rice fields around Paullo after years of studies and research by the family of Ettore de Vecchi who wanted to create a rice with a large and consistent grain: this variety of fine rice known all over the world was born from the meeting of two varieties already present in Italy, the Vialone and the Lencino.
Carnaroli rice is, without a doubt, known worldwide as the king of Risottos although in reality it is rather difficult to grow because it is easily prey to fungal attacks.
From the point of view of the characteristics related to cooking, Carnaroli rice has an excellent seal and gradually releases the right amount of starch that serves precisely to make the risotto creamy, without making it sticky.
Its incredible hold, in fact, makes it ideal for use in restaurant kitchens because it does not overcook even if it is not prepared instantly, but still retains an excellent consistency even after several minutes.
If during the purchase you noticed that the cost of Carnaroli is slightly higher than that of other rice such as Arborio or Vialone Nano, this depends on the higher production costs because, as we have already seen, it is a rather delicate and difficult variety to grow, as well as being significantly less productive than others.
The success of Carnaroli rice has gradually consolidated over the years both in Italy and abroad, just think that only 30 years ago it was little cultivated in our country and today, however, thanks to its growing popularity and the appreciation of chefs from all over the world, it has become one of the most requested and cultivated qualities.
How to cook Carnaroli rice: secrets in the kitchen
The ideal use of Carnaroli rice is for the preparation of risotto; there is a saying in this regard that states that Carnaroli is not a risotto rice, but rice for risotto! However, it is also excellent for preparing timbales and refined dishes, such as flans based on radicchio, pumpkin, onion and leek.
Cooking by absorption, just like risotto, takes about 18 minutes, while if it is boiled it takes about 15/ 16 minutes.
The variety of Carnaroli rice is appreciated by starred chefs all over the world for its grain elongated by about 7 mm with a pearly white color and a slightly sweet taste: it is very resistant and elastic and even during prolonged cooking it does not disintegrate, but remains compact.
It is also perfect for absorbing liquids during cooking and during creaming and which is why it is the most used for the preparation of risottos. Its characteristics distinguish it from Arborio rice which, on the other hand, has a lower starch content, a firmer consistency and also the longer grain.
To prepare an excellent risotto based on Carnaroli, chefs always recommend following some simple precautions:
- absolutely avoid washing the rice so as not to disperse the starch that is very useful in the preparation of risotto
- Dedicate a lot of attention to the time of roasting: to check when it is time to blend it with wine or broth it is a good habit to place a hand over the pot until you feel a little heat. When you start to feel a little heat on the palm of your hand then it will be time to blend the risotto with wine or hot broth
- The creaming must be carried out with butter and Parmesan cheese, temporarily removing the pot from the heat
- In order to better stir the rice it is always preferable to use a pot with fairly high edges
- the risotto should not be dried too much in order to allow the rice to make the classic wave that enhances the flavor of dishes prepared with Carnaroli rice