Forbidden Rice Risotto with Calamari and Shrimp

The forbidden rice, or black rice, receives this name because it was served exclusively for the Emperors in ancient China, who believed in its aphrodisiac effects and to ensure longevity. In that time, only around ten grains of black rice grew for each hectare of rice paddy. Nowadays, this rice is prized for its savor and high nutritional value. It could be prepared like another rice types or as pilafs and risottos.

Risotto is one of the savoury dishes that I most like to prepare. Stirring constantly the rice and watch its transformation in a creamy and velvety texture is a labor of love for me, specially using the forbidden rice with calamari and shrimp. This heirloom rice gives a fragrant aroma and a nutty taste that are perfect with the seafood flavor.

If this is your first time that you prepare risotto, remember to add liquid gradually during the cooking and stir constantly. These will help to release the starch from the rice resulting in a creamy consistency. Besides that, the way that the calamari and shrimp are cooked makes real difference too. To obtain a good result you need to avoid overcooking them. Both of them are cooked separately with dry white wine, herbs and seasonings. The calamari takes about 15 minutes to be done. Chili, bouquet garni, tomatoes and kalamata olives are the base of the stewing. The result is a tender and fragrant calamari. When the risotto is almost done, you will start to prepare the shrimp. The whole shrimp is simmered for only 5 minutes. Although the brief cooking, the shrimps gain both flavor and moisture from the seasoned liquid. After cooled and peeled, the shrimp are warm in butter, seasonings and wine for some minutes until golden

Forbidden Rice Risotto with Calamari and Shrimp
(adapted from here)


300g/ 0,66 lb  large and clean calamari

1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
300g/ 0,66 lb of diced tomatoes peeled and seeded 
30g/ 0,07 lb Kalamata black olives 
170ml/ 3/4 cup dry white wine
200ml/ 1 cup water
Bouquet garni

Saute onion, garlic and tomatoes in olive oil. Add the sliced calamari and cook more. Add the olives, pepper and bouquet garni. Season with salt, white wine and cover with water and simmer for 15 minutes on low heat.


½ onion, chopped
125g/ 0,28lb black rice
100ml/ 1/2 cup dry white wine
1.2l/ 4 cups of water
30g/0,07 lb grated parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon butter
60ml/ 1/4 cup cream

Saute onion in olive oil, place the rice and sauté for another 5 minutes. Add the wine and stir until absorbed, about 2 minutes. Add a ladleful of the hot water, adjust the heat under the rice to maintain a gentle simmer, and cook, stirring constantly, until the liquid is absorbed. Continue adding the water, a ladleful at a time, cooking and stirring after each addition, until the liquid is nearly absorbed. After 20-25 minutes, the grains will be tender but still slightly firm at the center and will look creamy. Add the Parmesan, mix well. Repeat with the cream and butter.

(adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking)

8 jumbo shrimps
1 cup dry white wine
1/4 teaspoon thyme
black pepper
2 cups water
2 tablespoon butter

Simmer wine, water, herbs, and seasonings in a sauce pan. Add the whole, unpeeled shrimps and simmer for 5 minutes only. Allow them to cool, then peel them, and warm them and butter, seasonings, and wine.


2 tablespoons chopped parsley or chives
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
grated Parmesan cheese

Mix the calamari with the risotto and add the parsley. Place on plate, add the shrimp, and cover with olive oil and Parmesan cheese.


  1. The black rice really does give this dish a more stunning appearance. I have never see it in the grocers. Thanks for sharing this tasty recipe.

  2. E ai Lucianaaaa!!
    Somos amigos de trabalho e estamos passando por aqui!!
    Parabéns pelas receitas!!!

    Muito Bom!!!

  3. Wow - this is absolutely stunning! I'm allergic to seafood so I can't indulge, but I sure wish I could! It's so beautiful and I love the ingredients! I bet the calamata olives give it a nice saltiness....

  4. Beautiful, Luciana....this is really pretty!!! I love risotto but never made it at home. Your family is lucky to have this for dinner...like a fancy restaurant quality!!

  5. Que prato lindo! deu água na boca..

  6. The presentation of this dish is stunning! Gorgeous photos also :)

  7. Good morning, I featured this recipe on my blog today for my weekly seafood round-up. I also FB, Tweet and Pin. Thank you for allowing me to share! Here is the link:http://carriesexperimentalkitchen.blogspot.com/2012/09/seafood-frenzy-friday-week-35.html



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