When I find a new ingredient that I love, I hang on to it. I think about it day and night and tell everyone I know about it. Even though I'm singing praises it still takes a while to get in the kitchen and cook. This black rice adventure has been no different. A few weeks back, I made Grilled Pineapple with Black Coconut Sticky Rice for an easy summer dessert. We loved it yet it took me three weeks to experiment with this savory dish.
Nothing brings savory comfort to me like risotto: Italy's traditional rice dish cooked in broth until it reaches the perfect creamy consistency. Yes you'll spend an hour stirring in front of your stove. But it's worth it. This black rice variation brings in a healthy component.
Black rice is full of antioxidants and contains 18 amino acids along with vital nutrients. It is grown in Asia and is an unmilled rice, meaning it has not had its fiber-rich husks removed. It's also known as forbidden rice and has a mild, nutty flavor which I found perfect in this risotto.
My thoughts turned back to the best risotto I've ever had was at Gordon Ramsey's Maze in New York City. I've had it a few times and one of my favorite variations were with peas. Luckily I had received a bounty of peas from my last two CSA shares. I use a full cup of peas, but would gladly use up to two cups if I had that many peas. Give this Black Rice Risotto with Peas recipe a try soon. You'll quickly become just as obsessed with black forbidden rice as I am.
Black Rice Risotto with Fresh Peas
adapted from this recipe by Ellie Krieger
8-9 c. chicken broth (or water + 4 tsp Shirley J Chicken Bouillon)
1 1/2 c. black rice, also known as forbidden rice
2 small onions, finely diced (1 1/3 cups)
2 cloves of garlic, minced finely
1 TB. olive oil
1 TB. butter*
1 c. Parmesan cheese*
20-40 basil, orach and pea leaves, chiffonade
salt and pepper (to taste)**
Bring chicken broth to a boil in a medium to large saucepan. Lower to simmer. Prepare (cut) all ingredients except basil, orach and pea leaves.
Heat olive oil and butter over medium heat in medium to large saucepan. Once melted add finely chopped onions. Cooke for about four minutes, until soft. Add minced garlic and cook for an additional minute, stirring constantly. Add black rice and stir to coat rice completely in mixture for one minute. Reduce heat to medium-low.
Get ready to stir. Make sure chicken broth is hot. Ladle a scant cup of broth into black rice mixture and constantly until all liquid is absorbed. This should take between 5-7 minutes. Repeat previous step with all but 1 cup of remaining broth. Make sure to stir, stir, stir. Make sure to not add additional broth until previous broth is absorbed. You'll be tempted but don't. This is an important step.
Add in peas (reserves some if you want to use as garnish) and remaining broth. Stir until mostly absorbed. Turn off heat and about 3/4 cup of Parmesan cheese and stir until melted. Chiffonade basil, orach and pea leaves and fold into mixture. Taste and add any salt and pepper if desired.
**I did not add any salt and pepper as I found my chicken broth seasoned the rice perfectly. I strongly recommend not seasoning until after you add cheese since it adds saltiness to the dish.
*For a lower-in-fat and dairy-free version omit cheese and butter. Just increase olive oil to two tablespoons. It's still yummy this way! I promise.
Other recipes you may like:
Bleu Cheese, Radish and Pea Shoot Crostini on Project Domestication
Asian Mizuna Greens and Pasta Salad with Edamame and Pea Shoots on Project Domestication
Pasta Pesto and Peas on Project Domestication
Potato Salad with Peas and Sorrel and a Creamy Lemon-Herb Dressing on Cafe Johnsonia
Israeli Couscous with Pesto and Spring Vegetables on The Vintage Mixer