April 5, 2008

Baked Asparagus Risotto - No Stirring!

Asparagus Risotto

Risotto is one of those dishes that I find particularly easy. I've made it so many times that it's kind of like second nature. And I love its versatility.
There is always some sort of vegetable or leftover meat lurking in the back of the fridge or freezer that I can mix with pearly, fat grains of arborio rice, hot stock and Parmesan to make a hearty meal.

The one thing about risotto is that you have to stand there and stir. And stir.
For about 30 minutes.
Sometimes this can be tedious. Especially when there are more interesting things to do. Like laugh at celebrities on gofugyourself.com read up on world events or study French.

So to give myself more time to be studious and worldly, I have a baked risotto recipe that cuts the amount of time in front of the stove by about two thirds.

The texture is a bit different that stovetop risotto. The grains are softer, not as al dente, but the flavor is wonderful!

Baked Asparagus Risotto
  • 8 ounces/250g thick, smoky bacon, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons/25g butter plus 1 tablespoon/12g
  • 10 ounces/300g risotto rice
  • 8 ounces/ 250g fresh asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup/125ml of white wine (optional)
  • 3 cups/700ml hot chicken stock
  • pinch salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup/50g Parmesan cheese, grated
Heat oven to 200C/400F
Fry the bacon pieces in an ovenproof pan or casserole dish with a lid for 3-5 minutes until crisp.
Stir in the onion and 2 tablespoons/25g butter and cook for 3-4 minutes until soft.
Add the rice and stir for a minute or two, until all the grains are coated.
Pour in the optional white wine and cook for 2 minutes, until absorbed.
Add the hot stock, the salt and the asparagus pieces, then give it all a quick stir.
Cover with a tight fitting lid and bake for 20-30 minutes, until just cooked.
Stir in half of the Parmesan and remaining butter.
Serve, sprinkled with the remainder of the cheese and pass the pepper mill.

Serves 4

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