Risotto rice is a short-grained round or semi-round rice. Two of the best to choose from are Arborio and Carnaroli. Other short-grained rices will also work. Long grained rice won’t work as the grains do not stick together and give a creamy texture. Easy cook rice won’t work as it will not absorb enough flavours.
Arborio rice is an Italian short-grain rice. It is named after the town of Arborio in the Po Valley, where it is grown. Cooked, the rounded grains are firm, creamy, and chewy, due to the higher amylopectin starch content of this rice variety. The starches blend well with other flavours. Arborio rice is also used for rice pudding.
Carnaroli is a medium-grained rice native to the Novara and Vercelli regions of northern Italy. Carnaroli rice is traditionally used for making risotto, differing from the more common arborio rice due to its higher starch content and firmer texture, as well as having a longer grain. Carnaroli rice keeps its shape better than other forms of rice during the slow cooking required for making risotto due to higher quantities of amylose present. It is often described as being a “superfino” rice or as “the king of rices”.