Black Rice Risotto prepared with wonderfully chewy and aromatic Italian Venere rice seems like stirring a witch’s cauldron. The rice’s deep black hue and risotto’s requisite long, slow simmering complete the illusion. Plus the contrasting orange cubes of roasted squash (or yam) with the black rice make this a most fitting dish for Halloween.
Long, Slow Cooking All Black Rice Risotto
From my first attempt at risotto made with all black rice to today’s recipe with equal parts black rice and quicker-cooking arborio rice, I knew we had a winner. A number of variations later, I have a recipe to share.
Though with the long, slow cooking time, I’m guessing that you may never prepare risotto with all black rice. So, I’ve included these photos to tempt you by showing just how gorgeous Black Rice Risotto with Leeks and Roasted Butternut Squash is. In every step of its preparation it has an amazing jet black color, a very “meaty” yet creamy texture, a fragrance of baking bread, and a slightly smoky flavor.
When you’re ready to give it a try and have some aromatic Venere rice, here’s how to alter the recipe below:
- Omit the arborio rice
- Use 2 cups Black Rice, such as Venere for the creamiest texture
- Increase the amount of vegetable stock to 10-12 cups
- Increase the cooking time to 90 minutes and total time to about 2 hours
My apologies, I had no idea that black rice often costs so much. I just looked it up on Amazon. Some Costco warehouses carry 4 pound bags of black rice for about $10. Definitely worth buying a number of bags of this rice when you find them.
Enjoy a Black and Orange Halloween Dinner
Each of these black and orange dishes work well for either a casual Halloween buffet or a sit-down dinner:
This recipe, inspired by one from Martha Rose Shulman, guides you through the quicker version of Black Rice Risotto using precooked black rice. You can usually find Lundberg Black Japonica, Lotus Forbidden Rice or Nature’s Earthly Choice Black Rice.
As with all risotto, don’t rinse the arborio rice. This recipe completely relies upon the arborio rice for its creaminess, as precooked black rice offers only a chewy texture and great color.
Makes 6 main-course servings
Active Time: 45 Minutes
Total Time: 1½ hours
1 cup uncooked black rice (3 cups cooked)
4 cups ½-inch diced peeled butternut squash or yam
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
7 cups vegetable broth, approximately
1 tablespoon butter
5 cups ¼-inch wide slices of leek (white and pale green parts only)
1 cup arborio rice (not rinsed)
1 teaspoon dried thyme OR 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
½ cup chopped fresh parsley OR 1 cup fresh basil chiffonade
½ cup grated Pecorino or Parmesan cheese
- Combine the black rice, ¼ teaspoon salt and 2 cups of water in a saucepan. Bring the water to a boil. Cover the pan; reduce the heat so the water simmers. Cook for 35-40 minutes until all the water has been absorbed. Turn off the heat and let the rice sit, covered, for at least 10 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Toss the diced squash or yam with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and a sprinkling of coarse salt and freshly ground pepper. Lay the squash or yam in one layer on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and raise the heat to 450 degrees. Turn over the squash cubes and return to the oven for another 10 minutes. The squash will be tender and lightly colored.
- Place the broth in a saucepan and bring to a simmer.
- Place a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil and the butter. When hot stir in the leeks and thyme. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 minutes.
- Add the rice and stir 2 minutes.
- Stir in about 2 cups of simmering broth—just enough to cover the rice. Maintain the heat so that the broth simmers. Stir frequently until the broth is almost absorbed, about 3-4 minutes.
- Stir in a half cup of broth, once again stirring until the broth is almost absorbed. Continue in this manner until the rice is just tender and quite creamy, about 20 minutes.
- Stir in the roasted squash, the black rice and another cup of broth. Allow to simmer, stirring to combine the mixture.
- Stir in the chopped parsley or basil and grated cheese along with another cup of broth. Adjust the salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve hot in wide, shallow bowls.
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