The time, attention, and dedication in cooking arborio rice deliver every dish a perfection. However, you don’t need to be an expert to make an impressive and savoury arborio recipe. All it takes is a simple arborio background and techniques to get going, plus these 5 simple tips on how to cook perfect arborio rice.
What is Arborio Rice
Everyone has heard about creamy risotto and other dishes but not everyone has heard about Arborio rice. Arborio rice comes from an Italian variety of “superfino” or superfine rice.
The name Arborio was taken after the town of Arborio in the Po Valley, situated in Northern Italy. Currently, Arborio rice is grown and harvested in some parts of the US like in California, Arkansas, and Missouri.
It has a pearly white colour with oval-shaped grains that are about a quarter of an inch long and has a starchy content. Arborio rice has two types, the white and brown, but the white is more common because it is starchier and used in many dishes.
Typically, arborio rice is popular for making risotto but it is also used in other recipes like puddings, arancini, paella, and minestrone.
But, how do you cook the perfect arborio rice? Find out!
5 Simple Tips on How to Cook Perfect Arborio Rice
Arborio rice is popular in making the creamy dish, risotto. Risotto and arborio rice is often associated and interchangeably used but in fact, risotto is just one of the dishes you can make from cooking Arborio rice.
To set it clear, arborio can also be cooked as plain white rice, but you can expect a different texture.
#5 To Rinse or Not to Rinse?
Well, this is the first question- to rinse Arborio rice or not?
Unlike other rice varieties where rinsing is a must, you might ask yourself, if Arborio rice needs rinsing too since it’s already starchy.
To make it simple, let’s set it straight, we will be preparing Arborio rice like a bowl of regular white rice and not the creamy risotto.
Risotto is known for its creaminess that only Arborio rice can make, but if you are preparing it regularly, you can rinse the normally, BUT, Do Not crush or overdo the rinsing.
Rinsing the grains is essential to remove dirt and dust. However, you need not mix the grains vigorously.
Here are the steps on how to wash and rinse the Arborio rice:
- Do not soak Arborio rice if you are cooking it regularly
- Simply put the grains in a mesh or colander and put it under running cold water
- Gently fold the grains only. Wash at least once or twice just to remove dust and impurities
Soaking is only done when you are cooking risotto. This is because the grains are broken down to make it softer and starchier which is the main component of this dish.
#4 Toasting the Grains creates Texture
Arborio is known for its starch and stickiness when cooked but not everyone knows that you can actually create another fabulous texture while cooking this grain.
Many beginners and even experts often mislook this step in cooking arborio rice.
They don’t realize that toasting the grains creates a wonderful texture when it is cooked. It also releases a fine aroma and tastes a little nutty.
How to toast Arborio rice:
- Prepare a pot or saucepan over medium-high heat and add some butter or olive oil
- You can also add some spices for aromatics as optional ingredients
- Add the Arborio rice and stir constantly until the oil is absorbed
- Toast the grains for about a minute then once it gives off a nutty smell, it’s then ready!
After you have toasted the grains, set aside and prepare for the next process.
#3 Use the 4:1 Water Ratio Gradually
Unlike the regular rice that you can simply add the entire water or liquid before cooking, Arborio rice is very unconventional. Although it follows a 4:1 water ratio, the water is not added all at one time.
You need to add the liquid ingredient gradually, so if you intend to cook a cup of Arborio rice, you need 4 cups of water or any broth and add it at a time.
Adding the liquid gradually helps you adjust the texture of the rice depending on your choice. Traditional Arborio rice uses chicken stock as the liquid ingredient for some added flavour.
Here’s how to add the liquid to your Arborio rice and make it perfect:
- After successfully toasting your Arborio rice grains, add a cup of water or your favourite broth. Turn your heat into the medium.
- Stir constantly until the rice absorbs all the liquid and it starts to simmer. Be careful not to turn on the heat on high and boil the mixture quickly. The tip here is to cook it slowly and gradually.
- When the first cup of liquid is already absorbed, add half a cup and stir
- Keep pouring half a cup of your liquid ingredient until the rice is cooked. You know when the rice is cooked when the texture has changed so you probably need to adjust the entire 4 cups of liquid needed.
This is perhaps the tricky part because you may not have to pour in the entire 4 cups of water required in cooking the Arborio rice. Again, you have to keep an eye to its texture!
#2 Never Overcook Arborio Rice, It Must be Al Dente!
Now that you learned the first three important tips in making the perfect Arborio rice, the fourth tip is highly critical because this is the breaking point- Never overcook your Arborio rice!
You don’t want it soggy but creamy in texture, right? So you better keep an eye while cooking this grain. The most common mistake in preparing Arborio rice is overcooking the grains.
Patience is essential in cooking this type of rice because you have to concentrate on the texture of your rice. It should be similar to pasta, Al Dente.
Arborio grains are starchy and very similar to the texture of pasta, so the best way to cook this grain is not too hard and not too soft, just the right combination.
Let’s continue the cooking process!
- While you are adding your liquid ingredient gradually and continuously stirring it, observer how the grains have changed
- You will the grains tend to become creamy but not starchy because of the effects of toasting.
- Once you see a pasta-like al dente texture, then you are done! It will roughly take about 20 minutes of cooking time.
- Allow the steam to cook the rest of the grains and come out perfectly!
#1 Make it Simple – Use a Rice Cooker!
In these modern days, it might be challenging to spend a few more hours in the kitchen when you got a lot of things lined up for the day. However, this shouldn’t stop you from eating your favourite food.
You can actually cook Arborio rice in a rice cooker and achieve the same texture as the traditional method. All you need is a rice cooker!
Cooking Arborio rice in a rice cooker makes it more convenient, efficient, and lesser-to-no chances of failure. You just toss everything in, and the rice cooker will perfectly do the job!
The rice cooker method is a no-mess, less-mistake kind of cooking which makes it a popular option. Achieving the perfect Arborio rice is easy with a rice cooker.
Do I need to use a Special Rice Cooker for Arborio Rice?
If you already own a rice cooker, then it will certainly do the job as long as you bear in mind all the essential tips needed. Remember the rice to water ratio is the most critical part of cooking any rice grains!
But, if you are still finding out which cooker is best to use, I highly recommend Zojirushi NS-ZCC10. This is a modern rice cooker equipped with Neuro-Fuzzy logic technology, which means, it has integrated Artificial Intelligence or AI ability in cooking a variety of rice grains.
Let’s say, you are cooking Arborio rice, which is as we all know, is quite a sensitive grain to cook. Zojirushi NS-ZCC10 will make certain adjustments in cooking according to the rice variety and cooking setting you have chosen from its many menus.
If there is still more water on your rice, the cooker will adjust the heat and the cooking time until all the water is absorbed by all grains. So technically, the heat is well-distributed from the top, middle, and the bottom of the inner pot.
There is also less to no chances of having a bowl of burnt rice because of microcomputer technology.
Standout Features of Zojirushi NS-ZCC10:
- Advanced Neuro-Fuzzy Technology
- Compact design with retractable power cord
- 3 Reheating features: Automatic Keep Warm, Reheating Cycle, and Extended Keep Warm
- Coloured LCD Control
- 2-settings Delay timer
- Spherical non-stick inner cooking pan for even heat distribution
- Programmable beep indicator
Like most people out there, I am also pretty keen about the cleaning part. So if you are wondering how to clean this Zojirushi NS-ZCC10, well, I have some good news!
Most of its parts are detachable and dishwasher-safe, so you can simply remove those parts and toss them in the dishwasher!
What makes it even more surprising is that this specific model does not clutter in the kitchen. You can easily store and pack this rice cooker when needed.
If you are travelling frequently and wanting to bring a rice cooker with you, this particular model is also a best fit due to its compact design.
How to Cook Arborio Rice using Zojirushi NS-ZCC10
The Zojirushi NS-ZCC10 is not an intimidating rice cooker that you need to use sophisticated methods. At first glance, it actually looks like the regular rice cooker but somewhat spherical in shape.
Cooking rice is as easy as getting the right amount of rice and water in, select your cooking preference and off you go! Here is the complete guide on how to cook Arborio rice in Zojirushi NS-ZCC10 rice cooker:
- Measure the correct amount of rice you need for the meal and place it inside the rice cooker inner pot. You can use the accessories included like the measuring cups. The clear cups are best for white, brown, semi-brown, and sweet rice. The green cup is for rinse-free rice. Both of these cups are quite smaller compared to the standard measuring cup.
- Rinse the rice at least twice without overdoing it. Follow the rinsing tip I shared above.
- Add the correct rice to water ratio according to your rice variety
- Select the Regular cooking setting from its control panel
- Wait until your Arborio rice is cooked!
Zojirushi NS-ZCC10 will take care of any cooking adjustments and texture of the grain. If you are in a tight schedule you can also take advantage of the quick-cooking setting so dinner will be ready in no time.
Cooking Arborio rice in the rice cooker will come out as perfect like the ones done traditionally over stovetop! Of course, minus all the time and hassles 😀
Arborio rice is not as intimidating as it actually seemed. Although its name suggests sophistication, if you get to know more about the grain, you’ll realize that cooking and preparing it is so easy.
You don’t have to look any further about how to cook Arborio rice, you just have to learn these 5 simple tips on how to cook perfect Arborio rice.
In this post you learned the essential things needed in handling this type of grain, from rinsing to creating texture, adding water gradually and making it al dente. Topping all these tips, having a rice cooker handy will make everything easier and better.
Just like owning a Zojirushi NS-ZCC10 Neuro-fuzzy rice cooker, it will be worth everything since every grain you cook comes out perfect!
I hope you get the chance to apply all these tips the next time you have Arborio rice available.