The worst drought Italy has faced in 70 years is thirsting paddy fields in the river Po valley and jeopardizing the harvest of the premium rice used for risotto. Italy’s largest river is turning into a long stretch of sand due to the lack of rain, leaving the Lomellina rice flats — nestled between the river Po and the Alps — without the necessary water to flood the paddies. “Normally this field is supposed to be flooded with 2 to 5 centimeters (0.8 to 2 inches) of water, but now it seems to be on a sandy beach,” said rice farmer Giovanni Daghetta, as he walked through the dying rice fields in the town of Mortara. Farmers there have been producing the famed Arborio rice for centuries: the wide grains of this local variety are perfect for absorbing the flavors of risotto dishes. According to […]