That it’s fussy? That it’s time-consuming? That if you stop stirring the rice, baby unicorns will die?
What if I told you that, instead of constantly stirring the rice and gradually adding broth to it, you could combine your rice and broth in a Dutch oven, cover it, bake it for 45 minutes and get the same creamy risotto? No stirring it. No checking it. No worrying about it.
When I tried Donna Hay’s technique this afternoon, I was a skeptic. I didn’t believe you could take a dish that typically requires an hour’s worth of babysitting and streamline it down to maybe five hands-on minutes, but her technique WORKS. First, you bake the risotto. Then, uncover the pot, grab a wooden spoon, and start beating in your Parmesan, butter, salt and pepper. You’ll see the rice continue to release its starch and get creamier and creamier.
One of the nice things about having a big pot of basic baked risotto is that you can divide it and create variations, so there’s no need to get bored with leftovers. Divide the pot in half, and stir in some frozen peas on the first night and chopped apple, walnuts and goat cheese on the second night. Or sauteed mushrooms. Or roasted butternut squash.
Yep, this recipe actually lets you do more with less effort. It’s a slacker’s reward.
Easy Baked Risotto
Adapted from Donna Hay’s “Instant Entertaining”
Serves 4 to 6
- 1 1/2 cup Arborio rice
- 4 1/2 cups vegetable broth (or chicken stock, if you’re not going meatless)
- 1 cup finely grated Parmesan
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- Sea salt (or kosher salt) and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 cup frozen peas
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Place the rice and stock in a 10-cup baking dish (or Dutch oven), and stir to combine. Cover with foil (or the lid of the Dutch oven, if using), and bake for 45 minutes, until most of the stock is absorbed and the rice is al dente.
- Grab a wooden spoon, and beat in your Parmesan, butter, salt and pepper. Stir in the peas. When the peas are warm, serve immediately.