Black Rice Caprese Casserole

This casserole is so easy yet extremely flavorful!  The black rice adds a nice hearty nuttiness, the tomato and basil give it the freshness and the cheese makes it that comfort food dish we all want from time to time!

Black-Forbidden-Rice-Caprese-Casserole

 I have wanted to make this dish for a while.  I make this exact recipe for lasagna but without the rice of course.  I thought I’d try it with the black rice as a healthier version and let me tell you, it’s outstanding!!!  This is the kind of dish I find myself eating right out of the refrigerator!  Woops!

Black-Rice-Caprese-Casserole

I enjoyed this with a red Rioja and a Verdejo, they were both great with it.  I also recommend it with with a Pinot Noir, Temperino, Sangiovese, a Cabernet/Merlot blend, a Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Gris.

Black-Rice-Caprese

 Black Rice Caprese Casserole
Recipe: 4 – 6 servings

Rice

  • 1 Cup Forbidden Black Rice
  • 1 3/4 Cups Filtered Water
  • 1 Garlic Clove (Optional)
  • 1 Teaspoon Sea Salt
Casserole
  • 1 Container Fresh Mozzarella – thinly sliced and quartered
  • 1 1/2  Cup Pecorino Romano – finely grated
  • 5 – 6 Large Tomatoes – sliced (about 1 1/2 per layer if large)
  • 1 Bunch Fresh Basil – roughly torn
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil – drizzle on top
Instructions:
Rice

Measure rice and water and put into a small saucepan preferably with a glass lid.

Add the garlic and salt then cover and bring to a boil over high heat then reduce to simmer in-between medium-low and low for 30 – 40 minute.  Check at 30 minutes, if you still see a bit of liquid cook for 5 – 10 more minutes.  Or until water is gone.

Casserole

 While rice is cooking, slice each mozzarella ball and keep them separated (one ball per layer) and finely shred pecorino and set aside.

Core tomatoes, slice in half, squeeze out the seeds and as much juice as you can, then slice into as thin of slices as you can.

When rice is finished cooking, start the layering.  First layer tomatoes on the bottom of a 2 1/2 quart (I used a 12.2″W x 7.48″D x 2.28″H) casserole dish.  Spread half of the rice evenly over tomatoes.  Add a layer of basil leaves making sure to cover rice completely.  Evenly spread out one of the cut up mozzarella balls, you will have space in-between.  Evenly sprinkle a half cup of pecorino over it.

Repeat the steps above.

For the top layer add another layer of tomatoes then the last half cup of pecorino.

(Optional) sprinkle a few of the tiniest basil leaves on the top.

 Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees

 Bake on the middle rack for 40 – 45 minutes or until the cheese is a bit golden.

Forbidden-Black-Rice-Caprese-Casserole

Health benefits:

Black rice contains a high amount of anthocyanin like blood oranges.  The research has found that just a spoonful of black rice coating “bran” has more anthocyanin antioxidants than in a spoonful of blueberries, less sugar, more fiber and vitamin E antioxidants.  It is valuable for reducing inflammation and for its anti-aging properties.  It is also for high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, cancer and helps protect the nervous system from degeneration.

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