Friday, January 28, 2011
Baked Risotto with Mushrooms and Goat Cheese
Risotto is delicious. It is creamy, dreamy, Italian rice goodness. It also requires at least 20 minutes of near constant stirring. And while I currently have more free time than I know what to do with, I am well aware that most people have better, or at least more important, things to do than stand over a stove stirring a pot of rice for 20 minutes. But what if you didn’t have to stir your risotto? What if you could have perfect, rich and creamy risotto with almost none of the work? Would you be tempted to make risotto all the time?
Folks, get ready to be tempted because you can bake risotto in the oven.
For a basic baked risotto, all you have to do is combine Arborio rice, chicken broth, and white wine in a baking dish. Cover it up and bake it until most of the liquid is absorbed and the rice is creamy, yet still a bit toothsome. When the rice is done baking, stir in some butter and cheese to make it extra luscious. Season it up with a little salt and pepper and you are good to go without ever breaking a sweat.
From there you can flavor it up any way you like, simply by stirring in some fun ingredients at the end. The possibilities are endless – roasted butternut squash, bacon and onions, sun-dried tomatoes and basil, or one of my personal favorites – mushrooms and goat cheese. The combination of earthy mushrooms and tangy goat cheese makes this baked risotto extra special. And it’s still easy enough for any night of the week – no lengthy stirring required.
One Year Ago: Chicken Coconut Curry Soup
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
3/4 cup dry white wine, divided
1 T. olive oil
10 oz. cremini mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. fresh thyme, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 T. butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded or grated
2 oz. soft fresh goat cheese, crumbled
2 T. flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a large baking dish with nonstick spray. (I use a 2 1/2-quart ceramic dish).
In the baking dish, stir together the rice, chicken broth, and 1/2 cup of the white wine. Cover the dish with foil or a lid. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the rice is cooked and the liquid is mostly absorbed.
While the rice is baking, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and sauté until they release their liquid and the liquid evaporates, about 8 minutes. Add the onions and continue cooking until the onions are soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, thyme, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring frequently, for 1 minute, then stir in the remaining 1/4 cup of wine and cook until the wine evaporates, about 3 minutes.
When the rice is cooked, stir it well, and then stir in the butter and cheeses.
When the butter and cheeses have melted, add the mushrooms, and stir to combine. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper, if necessary. (I like a lot of pepper in this.)
Stir in parsley and serve immediately.
Serves 4 as a main dish, 8 as a side dish or first course.