This Halloween inspired Black Rice risotto is the perfect recipe to bring some extra spookiness to your dinner! Using Black Rice instead of conventional risotto rice removes the need to continuously stir as you add stock, however it does mean that it takes longer to cook instead. The Black Rice together with the grated comte cheese provides a rich and nutty base which is elegantly balanced with the sweet and sharp Balsamic Vinegar.
2 red onions, peeled and finely chopped
500g mushrooms, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
½ tsp chopped fresh rosemary & thyme (can use dried herbs but reduce the quantity)
300g Black Venus Rice
200ml white wine
500g pumpkin (large wedge), peeled and deseeded
1200ml chicken or vegetable stock
100g Comte cheese, grated (or can use Gruyere)
100g unsalted butter, diced and kept cold
50g chopped toasted hazelnuts
Put a medium sized pan on a medium heat and add the oil. When hot, add the onions, mushroom, garlic, thyme, rosemary and season with salt and pepper. Stir and cook gently for about 10-15 minutes until the onion has softened. Whilst the onion mix is cooking, add your stock to a saucepan and bring to a simmer.
Add the Black Rice to the onion mix and stir to coat. Add the white wine, stir and cook until all the wine has evaporated. Add the stock and Balsamic Vinegar, place a lid on top and leave to simmer. It should take around 40 minutes to cook but check occasionally and stir to ensure that the rice does not dry out.
Heat an oven to 200C. Slice the pumpkin into thin, 1cm thick crescents. Place the cut pumpkin onto a baking tray, drizzle with a little olive oil, season with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Arrange the pumpkin in a single layer on the tray and bake for 20 minutes, so that the edges are starting to caramelise and get crispy.
Check the risotto, the rice should feel soft but still with a bit of bite. If the rice has dried out too much add a small splash of water. Turn the heat to low, add the cheese and butter, do not mix but put the lid back on and leave for 5 mins.
After 5 mins, vigorously beat the rice with a wooden spoon, to allow everything to emulsify. It should have the consistency of lava, so if needed add a dash of water. Taste the risotto and add more seasoning if you think necessary before dividing between bowls. Place the pumpkin on top of the risotto, followed by the hazelnuts and extra grated cheese if you wish.