What will happen to my paella if I use arborio rice in place of Calasparra? Do I need to change the amount of liquid I use?

I know I should use paella rice, but my grocery store doesn't stock it and I don't have time to run around looking for it. I believe that arborio rice is more starchy and will make the paella a little "creamier" than desirable. Will it absorb more or less liquid than Calasparra rice?

  • Posted by: erinbdm
  • July 13, 2013


healthierkitchen July 14, 2013
funny, I've been thinking about paella all week! I have no rice so might do fideua.
pierino July 14, 2013
If you are making fideu you might want to invest in a clay cazuela. They are quite inexpensive and are better suited to fideua than a metal pan. The cazuela does require overnight seasoning but it's pretty simple.
erinbdm July 13, 2013
Thanks Suzanne--the recipe actually calls for some sherry, which I've never tried in a paella before. I'm looking forward to finding out how that works!
pierino July 13, 2013
For my paella's this week I'm working with a native Valencian (home of paella). He's not a cook really but he knows what the outcome should be. He has recommended adding brandy, so that's what we are going to do.
sdebrango July 13, 2013
I always have extra broth just in case when I make paella, I like to add white wine to the broth, not only does it extend the stock or broth but it imparts a wonderful flavor to the paella. I haven't seen the recipe from Plenty and it may already have wine in it but in case it doesn't you may want to consider a little wine.
Greenstuff July 13, 2013
You'll be fine. And that recipe looks fantastic.
pierino July 13, 2013
Chris is correct. I like to use bomba but when I can't get my hands on it I don't mind substituting arborio. In fact I have to prepare two giant paellas this week. One key thing to remember is that once you add your simmering broth, DON'T STIR. It's not risotto. You want that "soccarat" on the bottom. Crisp and almost a little burned.
erinbdm July 13, 2013
Thanks Chris. I'm making a vegetarian paella from the cookbook Plenty. It calls for 1 cup of rice for 2 cups of broth. Mostly I was wondering if I needed to have a lot of extra broth on hand. I will have some extra broth in case, but I don't have a huge supply of veggie broth in my freezer to depend on. It sounds like I'll be ok with the arborio.
Greenstuff July 13, 2013
It's a little hard to answer, as there are different types of Calasparra rice, and there are other factors that affect adsorption. But, until bomba rice became pretty available (some Calasparra is bomba), I often used Italian risotto rices, mostly carnaroli (and though not authentic, I thought they were delicious). When I switched to bomba, I did up my liquid. The conventional wisdom is that bomba adsorbs 3 cups of water to a cup of rice, while most other options (including some of the other Valencia paella rices) adsorb only 2. Are you following a recipe? It seems to me that most of them assume a lesser-adsorbing rice, and rather than adding less for arborio, you'd add more for bomba.
klrcon July 13, 2013
I think it should be ok. I've often made paella with arborio rice as that what I usually have on hand. If you're worried about it being too creamy, try to avoid stirring it as much as possible. And I don't know about the difference, if any, in absorption but I'd start conservatively and just add liquid if it seems dry.
Good luck!
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