Baked brown rice risotto

I was a late bloomer where risotto was concerned.  My love for this dish was kindled after eating it at a dinner party hosted by a Maltese friend almost a decade ago.

These days, when I’ve an ankle-biter to contend with, oven-c0oking wins hands down.  This baked risotto dish is a keeper.  One that requires minimal prep or stirring.  I was unsure of using brown basmati rice but it turned out lovely, much like bulghur wheat in consistency.  Packed with veggies and ‘shrooms, the dish was declared a winner by Hubby. The Bear, on the other hand, insisted she didn’t like courgettes, but managed a few decent spoonfuls before giving up and asking for some milk before bed.

Serves 2, plus some leftovers.

Vegetables:

  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 medium courgettes, quartered and diced
  • a handful of kale, washed and trimmed
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Heat oil in a non-stick pan over medium heat
  2. Sauté the courgettes for 3 to 4 minutes
  3. Add the kale to the courgettes and cook for 2 minutes
  4. Season with salt and pepper
  5. Remove from the heat and leave to cool

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Risotto

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 brown onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled and minced
  • a spring of thyme
  • 140g basmati rice, washed and soaked in tepid water for 30 minutes, then drained
  • 2.5 cups of water
  • 3 frozen stock cubes (homemade stock, frozen)
  • a handful of dried porcini mushrooms, soaked in boiling water for 30 minutes – reserve liquid
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Pre-heat the oven at 200 degrees celsius
  2. Heat oil in an oven-proof pot (I used a Dutch oven) over medium heat
  3. Sauté onion with a pinch of salt for a minute before adding the diced celery
  4. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes before adding the garlic and thyme.  Stir for 30 seconds
  5. Add the rice, stir gently for a minute
  6. Add in the water and stock
  7. Put the lid on and bake in the oven for 40 to 45 minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated (if it hasn’t, leave it in the oven for a further 5 minutes)
  8. Remove the pot from the oven using oven gloves and place it on the stove over a medium heat
  9. Add the cooked kale, courgettes, porcini mushrooms and soaking liquid (mind the grit at the bottom of the bowl!) to the pot
  10. Stir to combine and cook for 2 to 3 minutes
  11. Season with salt and pepper
  12. Serve with grated parmesan and a good squeeze of lemon

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