Know your baldo from your arborio? What’s the difference between roma and vialone nano? And which rice is best for risotto? Find out with this quick guide to the top Italian rice varieties.
Until relatively recently, people in the northern regions of Italy didn’t really eat pasta. After the introduction of the maize plant to Italy from the new world in the 16th century, polenta became a popular staple, but for at least two hundred years before this, the major crop grown in the north of the peninsula had been rice. It’s no surprise therefore that the most characteristic dish of this area is risotto, found across the north of Italy with regional variations, from the golden saffron infused risotto alla milanese to the national dish of the Venetian Republic, risi e bisi, literally rice and peas.