Posts tagged: Arborio

Perfect Pantry: Grains

This is the first in a series of articles on how to stock the perfect pantry. This post will be updated from time to time to add additional information. Grains typically have long shelf lives, commonly 2-4 years, so stocking up on a variety of grains is a good pantry habit.



Polenta is cornmeal that has been boiled in water. It is widely used as a staple of Italian cuisine. It can be used as is, grilled or fried. Prepared polenta can be found at most grocery stores.



Arborio is an Italian short-grain rice. The rounded grains are firm, creamy, and chewy when cooked. Arborio has a high starch content. It has a starchy taste but blends well with other flavors. It is primarily used to make Risotto.

  • 1 cup rice, 3 cups water, yields 3 cups cooked rice


Basmati is a variety of long grain rice, grown in India and Pakistan notable for its fragrance and delicate, nuanced flavor. India and Pakistan are the largest cultivators and exporters of this rice. The grains of basmati rice are longer than most other types of rice and are available in both white and brown varieties. Cooked grains of Basmati rice are characteristically free flowing rather than sticky, as with most long-grain rice and can be identified by its fragrance.

  • 1 cup rice, 1 3/4 cups water, yields 4 cups cooked rice

Cooking tip: Soak rice in water for 20 minutes before cooking to maximize grain elongation.


Jasmin rice, sometimes known as “Thai fragrant rice”, is a long-grain variety of rice that has a nutty aroma and a subtle and pandan-like flavor. Jasmine rice is originally from Thailand. The grains will cling when cooked, though it is less sticky than other rices.

  • 1 cup rice, 1 1/2 cups water, yields 3 cups cooked rice


Sushi rice is a short-grained, Japanese rice. It is usually cooled to room temperature before being used. Sushi rice has a consistency that differs from long-grain strains such as those from India. The essential quality is its stickiness. Rice that is too sticky has a mushy texture; if not sticky enough, it feels dry.

  • 1 cup rice, 1 1/4 cup water, yields 3 cups cooked rice



Couscous consists of spherical granules made by rolling and shaping moistened semolina wheat and then coating them with finely ground wheat flour. The finished granules are about one millimeter in diameter before cooking. Traditional couscous requires considerable preparation time, therefore, a more-processed, quick-cook couscous is suggested for the pantry. Traditionally couscous is served under a meat or vegetable stew. It can also be eaten alone, plain, flavored, warm or cold.

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