Calasparra Denominación de Origen / Riz Bomba / Spain
Grown only in the mountains near the town of Calasparra, bomba is ideal for making paella and other dishes, such as risotto, where the rice takes on flavour by absorbing a rich stock. This heirloom variety matures slowly in paddies irrigated with cold, fresh mountain water, resulting in denser kernels which absorb more broth – and more flavour. Unlike both Italian rice, which creates a creamy base as its starch combines with the stock, and Asian short-grained rice, which is intended to be sticky, grains of Bomba remain firm and separate.
Bomba means bomb, the name deriving from the almost spherical shape (like a cartoon bomb!) of the cooked rice grains, which expand in width rather than length as they absorb stock.
Bomba can soak up to three to four times its volume in liquid. If making paella, you will probably need nearer to four, but start out with a 3 to 1 ratio – you can always add a bit more stock if it’s too dry, but if you use too much liquid, you rice will be mushy.