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Baked Risotto with Several Tempting Variations

No recipe image available.A cool-weather 'slow food', risotto, a creamy rice dish made with arborio rice (available in well-stocked supermarkets and Italian groceries) is a classic Italian comfort food. Traditionally, it's made by cooking the rice on the stovetop, ladling in hot broth and stirring almost constantly. An easier route to this wonderful dish is simply combine the basic ingredients in a deep casserole dish and bake, giving it a good stir every 15 minutes until done (the entire process takes an hour).

Recipe Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups arborio rice
4 cups prepared vegetable broth, two 15-ounce cans
reduced-sodium vegetable broth, or two vegetable
bouillon cubes dissolved in 4 cups hot water
2 cloves garlic, very finely minced

Cooking Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
  2. Combine the rice with the stock, one additional cup of water, and the garlic in a two-quart casserole dish. Cover and bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. At the third stirring, stir in one more cup of water. When done, the rice should have a tender and creamy texture.
  3. Let the risotto stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Makes 6 servings.

Variations: Here are some wonderful ways to dress up individual portions of risotto. Normally, additions are stirred into the risotto, but you can also use them as toppings, as I do. This way, kids are more likely to enjoy the risotto, while allowing adults and older kids to savor more complex flavors. I also reserve a portion of whatever vegetable I am planning to add, to serve on the side for the children’s portions:

  • Wilted spinach or Swiss chard and corn kernels or goat cheese
  • Sautéed zucchini, red pepper, and herbs
  • Finely diced baked winter squash, sautéed red onion, and toasted walnuts
  • Sautéed leeks and chopped imported black olives
  • Roasted eggplant and Italian-style stewed tomatoes
  • Steamed asparagus and wilted spinach
  • Grated fresh Parmesan or Parmesan-style soy cheese
  • Grated mozzarella or mozzarella-style nondairy cheese

Recipe provided courtesy of Nava Atlas;