With its striking black appearance, venere rice is the "rice of the emperors" with Chinese roots and modern Italian applications. This black rice goes by many names, including "emperor's rice" and "forbidden rice," and is grown in both China and Italy. From the Lombardy and Piedmont regions of Italy, Venere Nero rice is also known as Black Venus rice. Venere Nero is a hybrid grain that combines Emperor black rice with an Italian variety and has a great texture that requires slightly longer cooking time than traditional white rice.
Venere rice is a medium-grain rice with a dark black color and a nutty, sweet taste. When cooked, the rice appears purplish and provides a stark contrast to most foods when served. The deep purple color is due to flavonoids called anthocyanins, which are pigments found in the rice's hull. Venere rice provides both an aesthetic and textural appeal.
Venere rice provides more health benefits than traditional milled white rice does because venere's intact hull contains minerals such as manganese, molybdenum, phosphorus and magnesium. It is also a good source of fiber and complex carbohydrates. Black venere rice is a whole-grain food and has no cholesterol, fat or sodium.
Basic Rice Recipe
Cooking venere rice is very similar to cooking white rice. It requires 1 3/4 cups of water for every 1 cup of dry uncooked rice. Combine the water and black rice in a sauce pot, turn on high heat and bring to a rolling boil. Once the water is boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low and cover with a lid; simmer for 25 to 30 minutes. Once the rice is cooked, let it sit for several minutes before serving. Venere rice can also be prepared using a traditional rice cooker.
Venere rice is delicious when cooked as Italian risotto. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a sauce pan over medium heat and then saute 1 small diced onion in the butter for 3 minutes or until transparent. Increase heat to medium-high and add 1 cup of venere rice to the sauteed onion and toast for 2 minutes. Using 4 cups of chicken or vegetable stock, spoon 1 to 2 ladles of liquid stock onto the rice. Once absorbed, add another 1 to 2 ladles until eventually all the liquid is used. The black rice should appear creamy and soft; remove it from the heat and sprinkle 2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese and 1 teaspoon of black pepper over the rice.