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Meatless Monday: Black Rice and Shiitake Mushroom Risotto

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Beautiful black rice from Italy

1 Beautiful black rice from Italy

Olive oil, onion, rice, white wine, and roasted vegetable broth at the ready

2 Olive oil, onion, rice, white wine, and roasted vegetable broth at the ready

Saute onions until tender

3 Saute onions until tender

Add the rice to the onions and stir to coat

4 Add the rice to the onions and stir to coat

The wine has evaporated and now add the first ladleful of broth

5 The wine has evaporated and now add the first ladleful of broth

While the rice absorbs the broth, slice the mushroom caps

6 While the rice absorbs the broth, slice the mushroom caps

Saute the shiitakes until tender

7 Saute the shiitakes until tender

Midway through cooking, add the cooked mushrooms to the rice

8 Midway through cooking, add the cooked mushrooms to the rice

And just before serving, stir in Parmesan and some butter

9 And just before serving, stir in Parmesan and some butter

A nice bowl of risotto

10 A nice bowl of risotto

Black rice? Yes indeed. I've had forbidden rice, a delicious black rice from China, so named because it was once reserved for the Emperors. Today, you can pick up a bag at lots of specialty stores or order it on line. When a friend suggested I try Venere rice, a black aromatic rice from Italy that's a cross between an Italian rice and forbidden rice, I was game.

And so, a black rice risotto (it says on the package you can use it that way). As the rice cooked and I stirred it, adding a ladleful of roasted vegetable broth at a time, the heady, earthy aroma filled the kitchen. Shiitake mushrooms, sauteed in olive oil and then added midway through, gave even more oomph to the dish.

If you can't get your hands on some Venere rice, just use your favorite Arborio rice. The color (sort of purple-black) won't be as striking, but the flavor will be just right. Click below to view the recipe.

Black Rice and Shiitake Mushroom Risotto

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