Arborio And Black Rice Risotto With Brussels Sprouts And Lemon Zest Recipe

A rich, creamy, vegetarian take on the Italian dish. 


7 cup well-seasoned vegetable stock, garlic stock, or porcini mushroom stock
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup minced onion
Salt and freshly ground pepper
3 cups cooked black rice
2/3 cup Arborio rice
1 to 2 garlic cloves (to taste), minced
1/2 cup dry white wine, such as pinot grigio or sauvignon blanc
1/4 to 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 lb Brussels sprouts, trimmed and quartered
1 tbsp grated lemon zest
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 to 4 tbsp minced fresh flat-leaf parsley, or a combination of parsley and dill


Step 1: Heat 2 tbsp olive oil over medium-high heat in a wide, heavy skillet. Sear the Brussels sprouts just until beginning to brown, 3 – 5 minutes, stirring and shaking the pan. Transfer to a plate or bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Step 2: Bring the stock to a simmer over low heat in a saucepan, with a ladle nearby or in the pot. Make sure the stock is well seasoned.

Step 3: Heat the remaining 1 tbsp olive oil over medium heat in a wide, heavy skillet or a wide, heavy saucepan. Add the onion and a generous pinch of salt and cook gently until it is just tender, 3 – 5 minutes. Do not brown.

Step 4: Add the rice and garlic and stir until the grains separate and begin to crackle. Add the wine. It should bubble right away, but it shouldn’t evaporate too quickly. Stir until it is no longer visible in the pan.

Step 5: Begin adding the simmering stock, a couple of ladlefuls (about 1?2 cup) at a time. The stock should just cover the arborio rice, and should be bubbling, not too slowly but not too quickly. Cook, stirring often, until it is just about absorbed. Add another ladleful or two of the stock and continue to cook in this fashion, adding more stock and stirring when the arborio rice is almost dry. You do not have to stir constantly, but stir often and when you do, stir vigorously, because it’s the stirring that coaxes the starch out of the arborio rice, and the starch is what makes risotto creamy. Add the Brussels sprouts after the first 10 minutes of stirring and cooking. When the arborio rice is no longer hard in the middle but is still chewy (al dente), usually in 20 – 25 minutes, it is done. Taste now and adjust seasoning.

Step 6: Add another ladleful of stock and the cooked black rice to the arborio rice. Stir in the Parmesan, lemon zest, juice, parsley and pepper to taste and remove from the heat. The mixture should be creamy (add more stock if it isn’t). Serve right away in wide soup bowls or on plates, spreading the risotto in a thin layer rather than a mound.

Advance preparation:
The cooked black rice will keep for 3 days in the refrigerator. You can sear the Brussels sprouts hours before you begin the risotto.

You can begin up to several hours before serving. Proceed with the recipe and cook halfway through Step 4, that is, for about 15 minutes. The rice should still be hard in the middle when you remove it from the heat, and there should not be any liquid in the pan. Spread the risotto in an even layer in the pan and keep it away from the heat until you resume cooking. If the pan is not wide enough for you to spread the rice in a thin layer, then transfer it to a baking sheet. Fifteen minutes before serving, bring the remaining stock back to a simmer and reheat the rice. Resume cooking as directed.

See more recipes from The Simple Art of Vegetarian Cooking.

Reprinted with permissions from The Simple Art of Vegetarian Cooking (2014, Raincoast Books).