I’m picky when it comes to risotto. For something so simplistic in its ingredients and preparation, it’s shocking just how many restaurants I’ve been to that have royally messed it up. It’s mushy. They don’t use Arborio rice. It’s so cheesy, the rice sticks together. Some of the infractions are forgivable, I mean, if you put too much cheese in my risotto, I’m not going to complain, but risotto is creamy, not tacky.
Which is exactly why the title of this risotto is oven-baked “risotto,” in quotes, and not just risotto, because if it were, I’d sort of become a hypocrite since I’m pretty critical of others’ risottos.
In this faux risotto, instead of gradually adding the liquid in and stirring for an eternity like you would with a classic risotto, I only did one round of stirring, and then popped the entire pot into the oven to cook. Right before the rice is done cooking, it’s pulled out for another quick stir to get as close to a traditional creamy, starchy risotto as possible.
Before I dive into the rest of the post, I’m going to interject for a second, and let you know that this recipe was created solely to try out my new Lagostina copper cookware. I don’t normally do reviews here, but I’ve been dying to get on the copper pot train, so when Lagostina reached out and asked me to try one of their products, I was totally on board. And I have to say, I’m smitten, not only is the pot (I used the Martellata Copper 3-Quart Covered Casserole) stunning, but it heats beautifully, and goes from the stove to the oven, a factor that’s a must for me in cookware.
Also, when you’re cooking on the stove, the handles don’t get so hot you burn yourself every time you touch them. This may seem like an insignificant factor, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve grabbed the scalding hot handles of my posts and burned the crap out of my palms – this was especially helpful for me here, since the risotto went straight from a medium heat on the stove directly into a screaming hot oven.
Now, before I even started the risotto, I tossed a whole lot of tomatoes with a little bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper, laid them all out on a sheet pan, and then threw them into a hot oven.
As I quickly explained before, the beginning of this recipe is the exact same as a traditional risotto. Sauté some garlic onion. Toast the rice. Add in some white wine, reduce.
After the first round of chicken stock gets absorbed into the rice, all but a half cup of the remaining stock was dumped into the risotto, I put a lid on the whole pot, then popped her into the oven to finish cooking the rice. Once the rice is just shy of aldente, it’s pulled out, and a little bit more white wine is added in, along with the last bit of chicken stock.
The beauty of this is, from here on, the “risotto” can really be whatever you want it to. I chose to throw in the roasted tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella for a caprese-style risotto perfect for summer and spring, but if it’s fall, some butternut squash and sage would be wonderful, or, if you’re really in a spring mood, some fresh English peas, and asparagus would be lovely as well.
I had this for dinner as an entrée, but if you need a little protein in your life, it would be lovely as a bed for some seared scallops, salmon or even a nice cut of steak.
- 5 roma tomatoes, halved
- 10 ounces cherry or grape tomatoes
- 1 Tlbs. olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 3 garlic cloves
- ½ cup diced onion
- 1 ¼ cups Arborio rice
- 1 cup white wine, divided
- 32 ounces warm chicken stock, divided
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- ½ cup parmesan cheese
- 1 ½ cups fresh basil
- 8 ounces mozzarella, cut into bite-sized pieces.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place one rack in the bottom third of the oven and the other on the highest part of the oven.
- Place tomatoes on a baking sheet lined with a silpat, toss tomatoes with olive oil. Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Place on the top rack in the oven, and bake 45 minutes, or until cherry tomatoes are starting to burst.
- Heat a 5 quart pot, to a medium heat. Add butter. Once the butter has melted, add onion and garlic. Cook until soft and fragrant, 2-3 minutes. Add rice, stir. Cook 1-2 minutes until toasted. Season with salt and pepper. Add in white wine, cook until reduced, 1-2 minutes. Add in ½ cup of chicken stock. Stir until absorbed into the rice, about 2-3 minutes. Pour all but ½ cup of chicken stock and salt into pot. Stir, cover and place in the oven. Cook until almost all of the liquid has absorbed, and the rice still has an aldente bite to it, about 40 minutes. Remove from oven and place back on the stove.
- Turn the heat on medium, and add in remaining white wine. Stir until absorbed. Add in chicken stock, parmesan cheese, basil, mozzarella, and roasted tomatoes. Stir until combined and cheese is melting. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Serve hot.
I was given free product from Lagostina, however, I was not compensated for this post, all opinions are my own!