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Forbidden Rice Risotto with Roasted Pumpkin and Chinese Broccoli

Posted Nov 16 2009 10:02pm

It’s forbidden, it’s black and it’s sexy. Black equals power while forbidden sounds captivating, at least in my own dictionary of food. While this black rice is not as gorgeous compared to the Lotus brand, the product that I’m using helps local farmers get better income. What’s so special about forbidden rice aside from the name is that in ancient China, this black rice was such a rarity with very high nutrition content and it’s only reserved for the Emperor of China, hence the word forbidden.

While forbidden rice signifies strength and stamina, I would like to pair this with the innocent and sweet roasted pumpkin. The black rice turns deep purple when cooked and it’s a great background for colorful vegetables.

I’ve wanted to use roasted pumpkin in other dishes aside from making soups and salads and a risotto dish is just perfect. I roasted about one pound of pumpkin even if I’m only using about half of it. They are great mashed with a dollop of Greek yogurt, honey and sea salt.

I absolutely love Chinese broccoli and its bitter flavor and they pair perfectly with the roasted pumpkin. Choose the smaller ones with as they have more tender stems and leaves. I love stir-frying them with chili pepper flakes and garlic. They can be served on its own or tossed with pasta.

When cooking risotto, choosing the right pan is important. Check out this video Choosing a Good Pan for Risotto from Rouxbe Online Cooking School.

Rouxbe Online Cooking School & Video Recipes

If you are experiencing cooler weather in your area, this would be a great dish to do as they are warming to the body most particularly the kidney organ. And if you have autumn season, this is a great way to slow down and unwind while still being active. Risotto is exactly that. It’ also a pure comfort food not only as the finished dish that you dig in but also while you’re cooking it. Stirring the rice as it absorbs the liquid is therapeutic while listening to the bubbling sound of the stock and inhaling the fragrant aroma from the pan. Although risotto may take time to cook it is indeed an easy dish to prepare.

Forbidden Rice Risotto
with Roasted Pumpkin and Chinese Broccoli

Makes 4 servings:

Roasted Pumpkin:
½ lb pumpkin
extra light olive oil
½ tsp brown sugar
¼ tsp unrefined sea salt
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp chili powder

1 cup forbidden rice (soaked for 6-8 hours with 1 teaspoon yogurt, whey or kefir)
6 cups chicken or vegetable stock (approximately)
3 ½ oz Chinese broccoli (about 100 grams)
1 small onion
2 tbsp unsalted butter
¼ tsp dried pepper flakes
½ cup white wine
unrefined sea salt, to taste
fresh ground black pepper, to taste

To serve:
3 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano

Preheat oven to 400º degrees Fahrenheit (or 200º degrees Celsius).

To prepare the roasted pumpkin, combine the sugar, salt, cinnamon and chili powder in a small bowl. Scoop out the seeds from the halved pumpkin and cut them into 1-inch wedge. Save the pumpkin seeds if desired. Brush the pumpkin with olive in on both sides and sprinkle with the spice mixture. Arrange the pumpkin on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place in the oven and roast for about 15 to 20 minutes or until the pumpkin is golden brown and tender.

While the pumpkin is roasting, cook the risotto.

First, drain and rinse the forbidden rice through a strainer. Then, drain very well, shaking off excess water.

To cook the risotto, first bring the chicken stock to a simmer. Prepare the Chinese broccoli by removing the leaves from its stem. Then, cut the stem into smaller pieces. Next mince the onions.

Heat a heavy bottomed sauté pan over medium-low heat, add butter until melted, then add the minced onions followed by the salt and sweat until soft and translucent, about 6-8 minutes. Add the chili pepper flakes and black rice to the pan and sauté for 3-5 minutes, stirring often, until the edges of the rice turns translucent. Add the white wine and stir until the wine is completely absorbed. Add the chicken stock one ladle at a time, allowing each ladle to be absorbed completely before adding the next.

Then cut the slightly cooled roasted pumpkin into bite-sized pieces while keeping an eye of the risotto. Remove the skin if desired before cutting.

When the risotto is about three-fourths cooked, about 30 minutes, add the Chinese broccoli and cook until the vegetables are tender. Season the dish with salt and pepper, to taste. To finish, add the diced pumpkin and stir slowly to incorporate. Remove the risotto from the heat and let sit covered for 2 minutes.

To finish the dish, grate the Parmesan cheese and fold three fourths into the risotto. Serve into individual bowls and garnish with the rest of the grated Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.


Gluten-Free; Vegan (if vegetable stock is used and cheese is omitted)

Cooking time for the rice will depend on the type of forbidden rice that you have. They cook for a longer period of time but still worth the wait.

After 30-40 minutes of cooking forbidden rice, the rice will be tender and creamy (I promise) but still slightly al dente.

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