Risotto is one of those things that’s so easy to make but is considered a labour of love simply for the fact that it needs so much babysitting.
When you have a baby on the floor searching for (and finding) every dust bunny and minuscule piece of something disgusting, who also must absolutely see what it all tastes like. And, a preschooler who thinks he’s a chef and wants to add all sorts of inedible things to dinner while your back is turned. Extra babysitting is not the thing you need.
I love cooking with my kids. And, I know it would be possible for me to make traditional risotto if I kicked them out and cooked by myself (I’m not a great multi-tasker) but I love that they want to be in there with me and I love how much my son is interested in cooking (and therefore interested in eating). So, simple and easy is the way to go for me. But, I still want to enjoy some creamy risotto with my pan-fried chicken and brussels sprouts.
This baked risotto is much simpler then the original (seriously, all you do is stir it up and throw it in the oven) and it free’s up space on the stove top when it feels like things are overloaded. Of course, the results aren’t quite as perfect as traditional risotto. But it comes close. The only thing lacking, I would say, is the little bit of the crispness that you normally get from toasting the rice in a bit of fat first. But the results are so tasty and creamy, with that loose risotto feel, that it will be hard for me to go back to the original except for on the rare occasion (read: special company).
This is just a very basic recipe. It’s great on its own but you can also feel free to dress it up with different spices, throw in some cooked veggies or meat and turn it into a one pot main dish. It would be a great way to breathe new life into some of those holiday leftovers.
Tip: To reheat the leftovers (as I did for the picture above) add a bit more stock or water to bring it back to a loose consistency. (This is what it looks like fresh from the oven. :))
Simple Parmesan Baked Risotto
- 1.5 cups arborio rice (a.k.a. risotto rice)
- 4.5 cups chicken stock
- 1 cup finely grated parmesan
- 2 tablespoons butter
- salt and pepper, to taste
Stir together the stock and rice in a 10 cup baking dish, cover tightly with foil (or lid). Bake at 355ºF for 40 minutes or until rice is al dente (cooked but crisp) and most of the stock has been absorbed (it will still be quite loose and wet). Stir in parmesan and butter until creamy. Season with salt and pepper.
Adapted from Donna Hay.