Pasta from the famous Venus rice, fine prawns and a sauce with saffron and broccoli. This dish is a homage to the colours of many Italian islands, to the gifts of the earth and the sea and a homage to love. Why love? Because black rice and saffron are said to be aphrodisiacs.Jump to Recipe
Riso di Venere – the grain of Venus
Black Venus rice is cultivated in Piedmont and for a long time was the preserve of the aristocracy. The noble grain is the result of crossbreeding varieties of Italian white rice and Asian black rice. The dye is in the pericarp, the membrane over the rice grain. The rice is therefore always left as whole grain rice. Because of this, it is rich in fibre and minerals as well as being very tasty. You smell it and it will remind you of freshly baked bread and roasted nuts. Whoever cooks it needs a little patience as it takes 30-40 minutes for it to become soft.
Gamberi rossi – the treasure of the sea
Prawns from Italy are mostly gamberi rossi, which are about 10 centimetres long. They are caught at depths of up to 1,000 metres but, unfortunately, dragnets cause damage to the seabed, and small sharks or turtles are often the by-catch. The Friend of the Sea (FOTS) brand tries to avoid this by using more sustainable fishing methods. Responsible consumers look for the FOTS logo as well as the widely used MSC (Marine Stewardship Council) seal when shopping. However, without a doubt, the most sustainable way to catch prawns in Italy is the DIY method: with bait in small-meshed lobster pots.
Fresh prawns – what you should know
It is not only by the sea that fishmongers sell prawns but also at many well-stocked markets. And you can check whether they are really fresh: the prawns should be firm and the head well attached to the body. The animals should smell of the sea, but not strongly. If the smell is reminiscent of ammonia: Hands off!
A prawn’s head tends to darken when it has been out of the water for a long time. Fresh animals have a uniform colour, ranging from reddish to grey, depending on the species. This is why it is better to avoid buying fresh prawns without a head.
Black Rice Tagliatelle with Prawns and Broccoli
For the pasta (alternatively 160 g purchased egg tagliatelle)
- 50 g flour universal
- 50 g rice black (venere rice)
- 1 egg
For the sugo
- 1 broccoli small
- approx. 250 g prawns frozen or fresh
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 small pinch saffron powder
- 1 pinch salt
- chilli pepper according to taste
- pistachios salted, according to taste
- olive oil
Grind the rice, but not too finely, with a corn mill. Mix with the flour, place on a pasta board and form a hollow in the middle. Break the egg into the hollow. Using your fingertips or a fork, mix the egg with the flour from the inside out. Knead the dough with the ball of your hand until all ingredients are well mixed. Then wrap the dough in cling film and let it rest for at least 30 minutes.
Roll out the dough with the pasta machine. The rice will make the dough a little crumbly at first so stay on the first setting of the noodle machine until the dough becomes smooth. If you use a rolling pin, be patient, as the dough will become smooth – with time! Only then try to roll out the dough a little thinner. But not too thin! Cut wide tagliatelle with a knife or the pasta machine. Cover them well, as the rice noodles dry out slightly due to the low gluten content.
Wash the broccoli. Separate the florets from the trunk, chop them up a little if necessary. Peel the stem and cut into slices. Put the broccoli in a pot and add plenty of cold water. Bring to the boil. Now add the salt and then the tagliatelle. Cook the vegetables and noodles for about three minutes.
Meanwhile, in a frying pan, lightly sauté the clove of garlic and, if you want, the chopped chilli pepper (remember to remove the seeds!) in enough oil. Add the peeled, cleaned prawns and fry them briefly on both sides at high heat (for about two minutes) until they are nicely pink. Not too long, otherwise they become rubbery and tough! Remove the garlic. Add some pasta water to the sauce and let it thicken slightly. Season with saffron, salt and pepper.
As soon as the noodles are firm to the bite, strain them with the broccoli and put them into the pan with the prawns. Mix well and serve immediately with freshly chopped parsley and pistachios.
Preparing the prawns: Frozen prawns are usually ready to cook and only need to be defrosted. If you have bought fresh prawns, wash them under running water. Now, with a slight twist, remove the head, then the shell (back shell, tail) and – with the help of a small sharp knife – the dark thread on the back of the animal (intestine).