Baked Risotto

Baked asparagus risottoI am a big fan of risotto. BIG fan. Cheesy, creamy rice? Uh... yes please. I love adding all manner of veggies or shrimp to homemade risotto. Or serving it along side baked fish for dinner. To me, risotto is the fancy restaurant equivalent of macaroni. It's just awesome. A total crowd pleaser.Easy baked risottoThe one complaint I have about risotto is that making it can be a little involved. There's a lot of stirring involved. It's not a dish that you can walk away from, you gotta stay there at the stove stirring for the majority of the time it's cooking. Totally worth it, but this can prove challenging if you are trying to prep other items for a dinner party or just trying to greet guests and not be hidden away in the kitchen the whole time.Baked risottoAnd so, I thought I'd give baked risotto a try. I had my doubts though. I figured that it would probably be good, but not AS good. How could it be as good if it's less work? That's not how the world works. This is much I know. But I was wrong! Turns out that baked risotto is like baked macaroni—a food miracle. (What? Me? Dramatic? Never.)AsparagusBaked Risotto, makes 2-3 servings.

2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons chopped onion
1 tablespoon minced garlic
3/4 cup arborio rice
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 cups vegetable stock
6 asparagus stocks
1/3 cup bread crumbs and/or sesame seeds

In an oven safe pan heat the olive oil over medium heat. I like to use a small cast iron pan for baked risotto because it keeps the rice from getting too thick, which can result in uneven cooking. Cook the onion for 2 minutes, just until it begins to soften. Then stir in the garlic and cook for another minute. Lightly season with salt and pepper. Then stir in the rice and cook until it begins to look transparent (about 3-4 minutes).GarlicNow pour in the wine and let that cook until nearly all the liquid has evaporated. Stir in 1/4 cup of the cheese and stir in the stock. Cover in aluminum foil (be careful, it's hot!) and bake at 375°f for 10 minutes. Remove the foil and stir in the remaining cheese. Bake for another 15 minutes. In the meantime prep your asparagus by removing the hard ends (the stalks) and slicing in half lengthwise. Layer the asparagus over the risotto, top with bread crumbs and/or sesame seeds and bake for another 8-10 minutes until all the liquid appears to have absorbed.How to make baked risottoServe warm as a main course or as a side. You can use any kind of vegetables you prefer. Next time I think I will add some lemon zest! xo. Emma

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