One-Pot Oven Risotto from Our Community Table
I am excited to share this recipe with you today. I know I almost always say this…but only because it’s true!
Sometime this past weekend (journalism time), I was combing through my emails when I came upon an article reviewing a recipe for a one-pot risotto. Hmm, I thought. I like risotto. The article said something to the effect that “this was the best rice dish this blogger had ever made” and perhaps something more about it “hitting all the right notes.” It was an Ina Garten recipe from her newest cookbook, Go- To Dinners, and the blogger was giving it a rave review.
Wait a minute—I thought to myself. I have that book. It had just arrived as I had pre-ordered it many, many months ago, when I first learned Ina was publishing another. And how delightfully timely as well, as I just happen to have an Our Community Table article deadline looming in my very nearest future. What luck, thought I, my amateur cheffy senses tingling!
Assembling in minutes, the rice cooks perfectly, truly cooking itself in the oven, and comes out the most gorgeous saffron gold color—as beautiful to look at as it is to enjoy. The blogger was right. This dish is not only simple; it’s sensational.
I will mention the quality of ingredients, in my opinion, is very important to this dish. I know Ina has become somewhat hilariously known for her accidental snobbery as she casually says things like, “so if you don’t have time to make your own from scratch, store bought is fine,” but in this case, she’s right. As there are so few ingredients in this dish, each one’s flavor really stands out, so really pay attention to the quality and flavor of cheese you select, the stock you use, the butter you add, etc. Choose ingredients whose flavors you really love. And watch the salt. For me, Ina’s recipes tend to run a bit salty. Start with 2 teaspoons Kosher salt— you can always add the additional ½, but you can’t take it out.
And one more thing, saffron. I added a pinch more saffron than the recipe called for. Probably a quarter teaspoon or so more. I love the flavor of saffron, the color and the scent. When I took the dish out of the oven last night, its saffron fragrance was gorgeous. The addition of the extra saffron not only amplified the fragrance of the dish, it also really intensified its rich golden color.
When you make this one-pot oven risotto, which I truly hope you will, prepare yourself for how elevated this dish will appear, and with such little effort. And prepare yourself for compliments as well, for your friends and families will be astonished by your skill. They don’t need to know how truly easy it was.
That’s all for now, dear readers. Looking forward to our next kitchen adventure here at Our Community Table.
Substitute vegetable stock for a kosher recipe.
3-4 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1¼ cups thinly sliced shallots (2 very large or several medium or small)
1-pound fresh asparagus, tough ends removed, cut in 1-inch lengths
1½ cups Arborio rice (10 ounces)
5 to 6 cups chicken stock, simmering (or vegetable stock if preferred)
½ teaspoon saffron threads
½ cup dry white wine
1 cup freshly grated Italian Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced and at room temperature
2 ½ teaspoons Kosher salt
1 scant teaspoon freshly ground black (or white) pepper
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a medium (11-inch /5 ½ quart) Dutch oven, such as Le Creuset, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over a medium heat.
Add the shallots and cook for 2-3 minutes.
Add the asparagus and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until al dente.
Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
In the same Dutch oven, heat one additional tablespoon olive oil.
Add the rice and stir to coat the rice with oil.
Add 4 cups of the warm chicken stock and the saffron, bring back to a simmer, and cover.
Transfer to the oven and bake for 35 minutes, until the rice is tender, and the liquid is absorbed.
Remove from the oven and add the white wine, stirring well until incorporated, then add one more cup of chicken stock, the Parmesan, butter, 2 ½ teaspoons salt, and 1 scant teaspoon pepper.
Stir vigorously with a wooden spoon for 2 to 3 minutes, until the risotto is thick and creamy, adding more chicken stock, if necessary, to keep the risotto very creamy.
Stir in the asparagus-and-shallot mixture and serve hot sprinkled with extra grated Parmesan.
To reheat, add a little white wine or stock and reheat in individual bowls in the microwave.
Sprinkle with Parmesan and serve hot.
Instead of asparagus, you can use broccolini, broccoli, snow peas, or snap peas; or you can add frozen peas just before serving.
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