Today I decided to make a gluten free Spring risotto for lunch as I got inspired by the beautiful season and by all those great vegetables – food-wise speaking – like artichokes, peas, and fresh onions that I keep seeing at the local markets.

This time I replaced the Carnaroli rice that I usually use with the black one called “Venere” from Gli Aironi, one Italian brand that I love very much.

I also opted for a citrus verbena infusion with lemon skin to replace more traditional vegetable stock.

I wanted the risotto to taste more fresh and Springy.

With black rice the consistency of the risotto will not be exactly the same of a more classic one because this is a  different kind of rice but I can assure you that we are going to make “one of a kind” black risotto!



Let’s prepare all the ingredients for our risotto:

Take off the outer leaves of the artichokes and leave only the tender ones. Cut the artichokes in thin slices and marinate them in a bowl with water and the juice of two organic lemons for about 20 minutes. Add the peas as well.

Cut the butter in small cubes and put it in the fridge. It has to be cold when you add it to the rice. For a vegan version, no need of it.

Peel and cut the onion in thin slices.

Pre-cook the black rice and drain all the water when it’s “al dente”. Put it in a bowl.

Take a saucepan, add water (about 1l), some leaves of citrus verbena and the skin of one organic lemon. Make it lightly simmer over low heat. It has to be warm when you add it to our risotto.


Take a large pot. Add the extra virgin olive oil and the onion. Put the pot over low heat. When the onion turns golden brown, add the rice and turn the heat on medium. Let the rice toast for a couple of minutes by stirring it constantly.

Add the infusion. The infusion has to cover the rice – no need to add more.

Turn the heat on low. Add a pinch of salt and stir.


Cooking a risotto requires some patience and time. You need to stir it from time to time, very gently, and check that it does not stick to the pot. You need to add the infusion little by little until the rice is cooked the way you like it and the water is absorbed.

I can’t tell you how much infusion you need, you just need to befriend your rice and get to taste it until it is ready.

It has not to get too sticky or too liquid, the right consistency is creamy or as we say it in Italian “all’onda”. “All’onda” means that you can create waves with the risotto when you stir it in the pot.

When the rice is almost cooked, add the artichokes and the peas.


When the risotto is ready, turn the heat off.

Now you are ready for the renown “mantecatura”!

The “mantecatura” consists in adding the cold butter little by little. Mix until completely melted and blended with the rice. For a vegan version, replace butter with extra virgin olive oil.

Serve it hot with some chervil flowers: I chose them because they add a nice anise flavour to the rice that is so good and fresh at the same time.

Buon appetito !



Recipe for 2 :
– 180 gr black rice “Venere” variaty
– 2 artichokes
– 2 handful of peas
– the juice of two organic lemon
– 1 white onion (medium size) – if fresh, it’s even better
– 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
– 30 gr cold butter or, for a vegan version,
3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
– citrus verbana infusion as much as needed
– the skin of 1 organic lemon
– chevril flowers
– salt


Recipe by Chiara

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