I was surprised by the total deliciousness of the baked risotto I created this week. I was also surprised by how quick it was!  I love risotto, but the standing & stirring is a bit boring, especially if you’re busy, so I’ve been trying to come up with some tricky ways to bake them instead. Here’s what I did.

Ingredients:

30g butter

olive oil

1 leek, sliced

2 cloves garlic, crushed

275g arborio rice

4 cups chicken or vegetable stock

6 roma tomatos, seeded* & roughly chopped

1 ridiculously large zucchini (2 regular would do!), cut into medium dice

dried tarragon

1/3cup parmesan cheese (optional)

Method:

Preheat oven to 200C.

In a med-large flameproof baking dish, heat half the butter and a generous splash of olive oil over medium. Saute the leek & garlic for a few minutes. Sprinkle with a little tarragon. Add the rice and stir until it glistens. (I added a splash of cooking sherry here too, but that’s optional!) Add the stock and stir. Cover and bring to the boil.

Remove from the stovetop and place in the heated oven. Bake for 10-15min.

Meanwhile, saute the zucchini in the remaining butter, a splash of olive oil and about 1/2 tsp dried tarragon.

Remove from the oven and stir gently. Fold through the tomatos and zucchini. Place back in the oven for a further 10-15min or until rice is tender.

Stir in the parmesan and allow to stand for about 2min. Serve in warm bowls, sprinkled with a little parmesan & tarragon.

To make this a vegan dish, use a vegetable stock, swap the butter for a little olive oil, and omit the Parmesan – the risotto was wonderfully creamy even before I added the cheese.  You could also reduce the fat content by steaming the zucchini instead of sauteing, but this will change the flavour a little.

This was a great warming winter dish which I highly recommend.

* If you’re like me and dislike waste, save the tomato leftovers for breakfast – saute them in a little olive oil and serve them on avocado-topped toast. Salt & pepper optional!

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