I have always loved a good risotto, but could never be bothered standing over the stove stirring it for 40 minutes. Ain't no-one got time for that, especially when you've got a hungry toddler at your toes in the kitchen! So now I only do risottos 2 ways - in the oven or in the microwave. Both methods do not require constant stirring, so it becomes one of those quick 'leave-and-forget' meals that I totally love! The recipe I've written today is an oven-baked version, but getting yourself a great microwave dish too is a really worthwhile investment.
The other great thing about risotto is that once you know how to make a delicious flavour base, you can mix and match different vegetable combinations to create unique dishes. So you can easily have a different risotto feature every week in your meal planning. If you were doing a monthly meal plan like I do (I can't wait to show you exactly how I do mine!), and wanted to include a different weekly risotto, it might look like this:
Week 1 : Chicken, mushroom and spinach
Week 2: Oven-baked vegetable
Week 3: Bacon, leek and goat's cheese
Week 4: Asparagus, pea and mint
And bam! You've got 4 meals of the month sorted, all with pretty much the same method but different flavours. Meal planning and cooking shouldn't be over-complicated. It's all about finding a good recipe and tweaking it to suit your personal tastes. I hope you enjoy this risotto recipe as much as we do.
Oven-baked vegetable risotto
- 1 tbs olive oil
- 2 leeks, finely chopped
- 2 - 3 rashers bacon, diced
- 1 zucchini, diced
- 1 red capsicum, diced
- 1/2 butternut pumpkin, diced
- 1/2 cup fresh or frozen peas
- 1 cup Arborio rice
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan, plus extra to serve
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 180º C
- Heat oil in a medium-sized pan. Add onion and bacon, and cook for 2- 3 minutes
- Add all the other vegetables and cook until the onion is translucent (approx. 3-5 minutes)
- Add rice and stir to coat in the oil
- Pour the chicken stock into the pan, and gently bring to the boil, stirring regularly
- Cover the pan with a lid or foil and place in the oven for 15 minutes.
- Remove the dish from the oven and add peas. Return to the oven for 3 minutes.
- Remove from the oven, stir in parmesan, and season with salt and pepper. Allow to sit for 3-5 minutes then serve with extra parmesan sprinkled on top (Serves 4)