I’m not shy of making risottos, but honestly, ever since I discovered ‘baked risottos’, you know the kind that you start on the flame and then shut-off in the oven for the next 40-or-so minutes, I’ve had zero inclination to make it any other way! When I’m cooking just for the 2 of us, it frees me up to do whatever else I want, ahem, like watch the new season of Homeland (loved the first episode, you?) or if we have people over, it’s one less thing for me to watch over. In fact, I’ll often divide my menu in a way that something gets baked, the dessert could be something that comes together in the refrigerator while I cook something on the burner.
In fact, for everyday cooking too, I end up making a baked version of most subzis, just to save me some effort. You know the other thing that saves me some effort? Pans that go from burner, to the oven and straight to the dining table, as you can imagine, qualify for ‘hero’ status in my home. Do you remember that not too long ago, our Moms used enamel pans of the cook-and-serve variety? But these were marred by poor quality where the plastic handles would melt and there was no chance of popping them in the oven! But not this beauty from Fujihoro, it’s porcelain-coated enamelware that’s of great quality, and looks pretty at the dinner table too! And the difference is that the handles are of the same enamelware as the pan. Just be sure to not put the lid with the plastic top in the oven!
Mushroom and kale is a great combination, but if you can’t find kale, you can stir in some baby spinach at the end instead of the kale. You know what else would be great in this risotto? Bacon!
We start on the gas flame where I cooked the mushrooms and onions and then tossed the Arborio rice to toast it with the flavours in the pan. This is a super important step. We’re so used to washing our basmati rice, that I have to urge you not to wash the Arborio rice, or else you’ll lose the wonderful starchiness that makes risotto.
Mix the grated parmesan and lemon zest together and toss it through the rice and then pour the vegetable stock and bake (uncovered) in the pre-heated oven! I like to give this a stir at the 20-minute mark and check on it when it hits the 40-minute mark. It usually gets done in 40 to 50 minutes and if you do have a bit of the stock left in the pan, you’ll realize that it gets absorbed fairly quickly. So check for salt, grate in some more Parmesan and top it with some pepper and serve it quickly!
In case you’re in the mood for some more risottos you might like –