Forbidden Rice Risotto with Kale Pesto

A twist on classic Italian risotto made with forbidden (black) rice and topped with kale pesto. 

Forbidden Rice Risotto. A twist on a classic Italian risotto made with forbidden (black) rice and topped with homemade kale pesto!

Ok, I have two things that I have to share with you immediately.  The first thing has to do with this forbidden rice risotto recipe.  I know that it looks a little…intense.  I swear that it is relatively normal and will not stain your teeth purple.  Trust me.  I ate a lot of it (you know, for testing purposes).

Also, I ended up taking it to work for lunch.  And yeah, the last thing I wanted to do was walk around like a dope with purple teeth.  Not a great look.  But let’s be honest here.  It sounds like something that would happen to me.

Forbidden Rice Risotto. A twist on a classic Italian risotto made with forbidden (black) rice and topped with homemade kale pesto!

Second piece of news that you might or might not care about at all.  We picked a wedding venue spot yesterday!  And a wedding date (4/11/2015).  Maybe sharing my ineptitude at wedding planning  (or pure laziness) somehow helped make this happen.  Thanks internet.  You come in handy sometimes.

And somehow, despite being an incredibly picky control-freak, I was not involved in the process at ALL.  I literally haven’t even seen the place in person.  With my own two eyes.  Connor visited it in person, took some pictures, and it took all of 15 minutes and 20 follow-up questions for me to come to a positive conclusion.

Forbidden Rice Risotto. A twist on a classic Italian risotto made with forbidden (black) rice and topped with homemade kale pesto!

After having visited a bunch of venues this past weekend and nixing our top contender going into the process, I was starting to give up a little.  We decided a long time ago that we wanted the reception and ceremony to be at the same venue–and well, this definitely complicates things.

I also wanted the possibility of having both the ceremony and reception outside–or have an equally nice space to have both of them inside, depending on whatever weather mother nature decides to throw our way.  Basically, I wanted the best of both worlds, which is so very typical of me.

Forbidden Rice Risotto. A twist on a classic Italian risotto made with forbidden (black) rice and topped with homemade kale pesto!

And somehow, we actually found a spot that is both pretty and meets basically every requirement.  And it wasn’t booked yet.  So I’m thanking my lucky stars right now.

Whoever said that picking the venue was the most stressful part of wedding planning was absolutely spot on.  Obviously the pressure has exponentially increased now that we actually have a date–um, this is officially happening–but oh my gosh, I feel so relieved!  Maybe I’ll actually get into this now?  We’ll see.

I’m the type of person that needs to see the end goal and/or deadline to come up with a plan of action.  I have 407 days to do the rest.

Forbidden Rice Risotto. A twist on a classic Italian risotto made with forbidden (black) rice and topped with homemade kale pesto!

Anyway, I’m all about deadlines.  Except when it comes to food.  I’m fairly spontaneous when it comes to what recipes I end up cooking or sharing with you guys.  I try to avoid over thinking it as much as possible.

This is actually the first “risotto” dish that I’ve made all season.  I’ve had a huge bag of black Forbidden rice sitting in my pantry for an embarrassingly long period of time.  It was a spontaneous Costco purchase that I’ve completely forgotten about.  Risotto was the first idea that popped into my head.

Somewhere along the brainstorming process, my mind got stuck on the idea of topping it with pesto.  I’m incredibly biased towards basil pesto.  I enjoy an arugula pesto every now and then–and have tried all sorts of other variations–but I can never seem to get past the fact the–how shall I say it?–lack of basil.

Forbidden Rice Risotto. A twist on a classic Italian risotto made with forbidden (black) rice and topped with homemade kale pesto!

I’m sort of ashamed to admit this (since I try and do believe in eating seasonably as much as possible), but I’ve definitely bought basil in winter before.  I know!  Cue immense guilt.  I blame Trader Joe’s.

But this time, I opted to be good and make a different (and new to me) pesto with kale instead.  Basil still wins–but I was pleasantly surprised by how much I actually liked it?  To improve the texture and flavor, I decided to blanch the kale leaves lightly by pouring boiling water over them in a colander, squeezing the excess water out, and then processing them with garlic, olive oil, walnuts, and parmesan cheese.

I loved the pop of color it added to the dark, purple risotto!

[recipe]