Black Rice Risotto

Black Rice, not to be confused with wild rice, was called forbidden rice in ancient China because legend had it only emperors were allowed to eat it. This makes me wonder if the Chinese emperors were selfishly trying to hide the health benefits of this grain. Black rice, often labeled as a superfood, is a whole grain and contains an antioxidant called anthocyanin. This antioxidant, also found in purple and reddish fruits such as blueberries and grapes, has been linked to the development of a stronger memory, decreased risk of cancer and heart disease. When cooked black rice is chewy in texture, has a nutty flavor and develops a beautiful purple color. Although this Ellie Krieger (registered dietitian and Food Network chef) dish is time consuming to prepare, it is delicious, nutritious and unique. Black rice can also be difficult to find, but it is worth the search. In Washington DC I’ve found it at Harris Teeter and Whole Foods.

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, about 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.