Joy the Baker

Baked Lemon Risotto

March 4, 2012

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Here’s a look at what’s going on inside my oven and a peek at what’s going on waaaay outside of my oven.

The good news:  I made beautifully creamy, starchy, and flavorful risotto using my oven and not my stovetop.  One stir!  That’s all you need.  While I know that this seems sacrilegious for any dish claiming the name Risotto… this rice is simple creamy starch.  So completely satisfying.

The great news:  I got to meet some of your beautiful faces in San Francisco this Sunday afternoon!  Thank you for all of you gorgeous-souled people who came out to Omnivore Books!

book tour seattle

I’ll tell you now, and I’ll tell you approximately 1 million more times…  I LOVE being out in the world meeting you all.  I am so thankful.  So humbled.  So stoked to take pictures with you and talk about yams.  You are incredible.

Can we talk rice?  Are you down?

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I’ve always stayed away from Risotto.  It seemed like a dish that needed a good deal of babysitting.  I’m more of a dump, go, sling pans, flip pancakes kind of cook in the kitchen.  Knowing that I can put something in the oven means that I can assemble it, and forget about it’s existence for at least 20 minutes.

… In that time I can try not to over-steam my broccoli or burn my chicken.

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Putting dinner together is a suuuper juggling act.

This rice makes the whole process just about 32 times easier.

Flavored with sauteed onions, fresh thyme, big bright lemon, and spicy chili flakes… the rices comes out of the oven full of flavor.  Just add salt and Parmesan cheese… perfection!

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Pretty grains of rice with delicate flavors.  Ready for baking!

I love the thought of raw rice.  So much potential.  So much room for growth and softness.

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Let’s just get it going with chicken stock and oven heat.  The mixture bakes for about 40 minutes with just one stir.  ONE STIR!

I like to think of risotto as savory rice pudding.  With Parmesan cheese, herbs, lemon, and salt… this dish is TOTALLY savory rice pudding.  Sure, it’s good along with dinner.  But… it’s also awesome eaten right out of the pan, or eaten cold in the middle of the night.

Midnight starch.  Believe in the magic.

seattle booktour

Here are a few scenes from this weekend’s book signing events.  Color.  Pattern.  Feet.

book tour seattle

I signed a lot of books this weekend… but I also signed a Kitchen Aid mixer!  Whoa.

Let me be clear.  Someone carted their Kitchen Aid mixer from their cozy kitchen counter and into a bookstore for me to write on with a permanent marker.

I can’t even tell you how nervous I was to write on this machine.  I have mad respect for these machines!

seattle booktour

Tracy and her mom Bev came to the book sing.  Major!  The best part!?  Tracy’s mom got to meet my mom.  I call it “When Mom’s Collide”.  This picture warms my heart.

Thank you for being here, reading about rice, looking at my pictures, and coming back for more!  You are the everything!

I had no idea this could be so easy!

Baked Lemon Risotto

adapted from Weight Watchers magazine

6 small or  4 medium portions

Print this Recipe!

1 small onion, chopped

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon lemon zest

2 teaspoons fresh chopped thyme leaves

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

2 cups Arborio rice

32 ounces low-sodium chicken broth

1 1/4 cups water

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

salt to taste

butter for coating the dish

more cheese, lemon zest and thyme leaves for topping

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

In a medium skillet, heat oil over medium heat.  Add the onions and cook until transluscent and browned, about 5 minutes.  Just as the onions are done cooking, add lemon zest, thyme leaves, chili flakes, and black pepper.  Toss to heat through and set aside.

In a medium bowl, toss together uncooked rice, cheese, and the onion mixture.  Place in the prepared baking pan.  Pour chicken stock and water over the rice mixture.  Stir gently to ensure even cooking.

Place in the oven and allow to cook, uncovered,  for 37-40 minutes, stirring after 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 cooked though, remove from the oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes before tasting.  Add salt to taste.  Serve topped with lemon zest, fresh thyme, black pepper, and more cheese.  Rice will last, in an airtight container in the fridge, for up to 5 days.  


187 Comments Add A Comment

  • Im so making this…vegan style…!!

  • Risotto is one of my favorites, and I love the idea of just baking it. Brilliant. I was blessed enough to get to come out to San Francisco today and meet you, thank you so much for driving up and doing this book tour. And still having time to write in the blog while you tour? Totally impressive.
    Keep being awesome!

  • risotto is my FAVORITE! I don’t make it very often because it is a dish that needs a lot of love… but it’s so delicious!! I can’t believe you wrote on a KITCHENAID!

  • I love that baking dish! It’s the same one you used for the lemon raspberry breakfast rolls, yes? So pretty! And I love the idea of a no-fuss risotto! I’ve tried making risotto twice before and wasn’t jazzed, but this … this might persuade me to give it another shot. Thanks muchly!

  • Congrats on all of your success. You are so totally the rock star now you were always destined to be!

  • That Mom’s Collide pic is too cute! And baked lemon risotto sounds super. I use baking time for dishwashing time.

    • Yes, a person has to multitask during oven time. I ‘ve always thought that a REAL challenge on cooking show would be to not just get the cooking done in the allotted time, but to get the dishes done, go thru the day’s mail, do a load of laundry, etc, all while on the phone, talking to your mom and making appointments for the cat(s) to go to the vet…..

  • This looks so delicious, I’m drooling on my keyboard!!!

  • I love this idea. Risotto that looks after itself…genius! Love the book tour photos too :)

  • You just blew my mind-hole. Yowza.

  • I am soooo happy for you that you’ve had such a fabulous turnout at your signings. Of course, I knew you would! Because you rock :)

    And I love those yellow shoes! And this yellow risotto. Lemons, yellow, it’s all good.

  • Risotto is one of my fav things!! This looks soo good and easy. Can’t wait to try it and experiment with different flavors :) Also, can’t wait to check out your book! I hope I can make it to the Chicago signing as its the closest to Milwaukee!

  • THIS IS GENIUS.

    Joy. I mean. Srsly. This is cray crazy genius. Nobel prize worthy. I dunno what category that would be, but I feel like this could solve some world problems. Fabulous idea and fabulous flavors. So jealous of everyone at your book signings! Wondering how many cookies (or Texas fudge sheet cake?) we’d have to bake to get you to come down here.

  • I feel the same way about risotto. So yummy, but so much effort. I’ll have to give this one a try since I still have tons of lemons growing in my backyard.

    Great fun at the book signing today! Thanks for coming up north to see us. I love that just my head is in that picture. I feel like Waldo or something, just without the striped shirt.

    I have to stay up until midnight for preschool registration tonight so I’m baking the black and white pumpkin cookies to pass the time and break in my (freshly signed) cookbook.

  • hey, it’s a good thing you’ve got such beautiful/decorative writing, miss joy!!! the kitchen aid situation could have been a disaster with anyone else’s penmanship… ;)

  • Baked risotto! My world has gone sideways. Then again, I bake rice pudding… why not? Genius, I say!

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