I love making risotto. I find the half hour of methodical stirring and adding stock really therapeutic and relaxing. I know from recent discussion on Twitter, though, that other people hate being tied to the stove for that long, so I thought I’d try out an oven-baked risotto.
This is loosely based on a Donna Hay recipe, I think from Fast, Fresh, Simple (the idea and the rough timings), but none of the ingredients or quantities are the same – apart from the stock and rice, obviously…
For the oven baked risotto:
Slug or two of rapeseed oil
1 onion, finely chopped
300g risotto rice
Juice (and a bit of the zest) of one lemon
1.5 litres chicken stock
So start (in an ovenproof dish like a Le Creuset with a well fitting lid) on the hob. Heat the oil, add the onion and stir until translucent, then add the rice and continue to stir until well coated in the oil. Next add in the juice of the lemon and a couple of grates of the zest (my kids don’t like it too lemony, but if you like more, feel free to add it – also see my note at the end about parmesan). Now stir in all the stock and put on the lid. Pop the whole shebang into a 200 degree/gas 6 oven and forget about it.
After 30 mins, remove the rice from the oven and give it a stir. It should be perfect, but like any risotto, the quantities needed seem to differ every time you make it, so if it’s a little too liquid, allow it to sit for a while, or maybe pop it back onto the hob for a bit, or if it’s too thick for you add a bit of water. Mine was just about right. Check for seasoning. Often cube or jelly stocks can be a bit salty, so don’t add any in at the beginning.
Allow the risotto to sit while you quickly make the prawns:
1 bag raw frozen king prawns, defrosted (or use fresh if you’re that lucky)
Large knob of butter
1 or 2 cloves garlic, crushed with a little salt
So drain the prawns and melt the butter in a frying pan. Add the garlic, stir around, then add in the prawns. Cook them until they are just pink and tender. Serve over the risotto with a large handful of chopped parsley or rocket.
A little note on Parmigiano:
I usually use copious amounts of Parmigiano in my risotto, and actually find that lemon risotto benefits from the saltiness of the cheese. Obviously with fish I left out the cheese (never a good mixture), and both my boys found the risotto too lemony. So if you’re making this risotto on its own or with chicken, I’d recommend a couple of good handfuls of Parmigiano, grated, stirred through at the end. If making with fish – go steady on the lemon, or maybe squeeze it over at the end, to taste.