Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Baked Lemon Risotto - vegan & gluten free

Loyal readers know that risotto is a staple here at Chez Sweets. So when I came across this recipe on Joy the Baker, I was definitely intrigued by the lack of stirring required. Creamy deliciousness with 10 minutes of work? Yes, please.

The options for variations are endless. Try adding some fresh veggies, wine, lemon juice, or a different set of herbs and spices. This risotto pairs well with a green salad or fresh (and now coming into season!!) asparagus. 

Baked Lemon Risotto - vegan & gluten free
adapted from Joy the Baker

I halved this recipe and baked it in a 7x10-inch baking pan, baked at the same temperature and for the same time, and it turned out beautifully.  I also increased the lemon zest and added caramelized onions (see my how-to here) to Joy's version. 

1 onion, diced
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp lemon zest
2 tsp dried or fresh thyme
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
2 C Arborio rice
32 ounces vegetable broth
1 1/4 C water
1/2 C caramelized onions (optional)
1 C grated Parmesan or Romano cheese (optional)
salt to taste
more cheese, lemon zest, parsley and/or thyme leaves for garnish

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9×13-inch baking pan and set aside.

In a medium skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until translucent - about 5 minutes. Turn off heat, add lemon zest, thyme leaves, chili flakes, and black pepper. Toss together and set aside.

In a medium bowl, toss together uncooked rice, cheese if using, and the onion mixture. Spread evenly in your prepared baking pan. Add vegetable stock and water and stir gently to ensure even cooking.

Place in the oven and allow to cook, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Stir briefly, and cook for another 17-20 minutes. Rice is done when liquid is absorbed and mixture is cooked through and creamy. If rice mixture is still crunchy, add more hot water or hot chicken stock about 1/3 cup at a time.

When completely cooked, remove pan from the oven and allow to rest for 15 minutes. If you'd like, add salt to taste and top with lemon zest, fresh thyme, black pepper, parsley and/or cheese.

To reheat leftovers, I put a couple teaspoons of water in a small saucepan, added risotto, and cooked on medium until heated through. Stir frequently.

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