The current DNS forwarding implementation using PowerDNS always requires specifying an upstream recorsor server by
- set service dns forwarding name-server x.x.x.x
Without this setting /etc/powerdns/recursor.conf will contain
# name-server forward-zones-recurse=.=
which leads to not resolving any queries. We can make the name-server node optional and by this PowerDNS recursor will directly contact the root-zone. This can be done by removing forward-zones-recurse=.= from the generated /etc/powerdns/recursor.conf file.