Food Network Magazine (March 2011)
We make it for special occasions, or when guests are coming to dinner.
And there are recipes that we love, especially the Risotto with Butternut Squash and Sage that we made back in 2008. If you haven’t made that recipe, it’s really lovely, especially for this time of year, when there's still a bit of a nip in the air.
Because we consider risotto a special occasion food, we expect it to be special when we make it. We want a risotto that blows us away, that rewards us for the constant stirring, and makes us want to grab a fork and dig right into the pan.
This, sadly, ain't that kind of risotto.
We loved the idea of a black risotto if for no other reason than it is striking on the plate. Better than that poor, sickly Beet Risotto we made last year, that turned out absolutely Friskies-esque.
For this risotto, the recipe calls for using black rice, which you can find at specialty supermarkets or Whole Foods. We had trouble finding it at our neighborhood Harris Teeter, even though we’ve purchased it there before. We did, however, find a mix of black and mahogany rice.
We had two serious problems with the dish.
First, the recipe calls for cooking the risotto for 50 minutes once you get to the point of adding broth. We cooked ours for nearly 90 minutes more once we got to this point, and it still wasn’t finished. Why the protracted cook time? We used Lundberg Black Japonica brand rice and it says it should cook in 50 minutes. We ultimately added almost twice as much chicken stock than the recipe calls for, and in the end, the rice still wasn’t completely done. It wasn’t crunchy, but also wasn’t creamy like other risottos.
Perhaps worse, we found the flavor of the finished dish to be seriously lacking. Besides chicken stock, the dish has Parmesan and basil added at the end. They weren’t enough for a flavorful risotto.
So this one was a bust. We need to declare a special occasion ASAP -- suggestions, anyone? -- and have a risotto do-over. As if we need an excuse.
Cook Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Yield: 4 servings
- 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, finely diced
- 1 1/2 cups black rice
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
Bring the broth to a simmer in a saucepan over medium-high heat; cover and keep warm.
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft, about 4 minutes. Add the rice and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Reduce the heat to medium low. Stir in the wine until the liquid is absorbed, about 3 minutes.
Ladle in 3/4 cup hot broth and cook, stirring constantly, until the liquid is absorbed, 6 to 7 minutes. Repeat with the remaining broth, adding 3/4 cup at a time, until the rice is tender but somewhat chewy, about 50 minutes.
Stir in 3/4 teaspoon salt, pepper to taste and 1/2 cup parmesan. Divide among bowls. Top with the remaining 1/4 cup parmesan and the basil.