I’m slowly building up a set of recipes that can be part-prepared ahead of time, then left in a pre-set oven so that they’re cooked and ready to serve just when we want to eat them. Examples include these bulgar-stuffed courgettes, this potato & carrot layer bake, and of course, these extremely popular hedgehog potatoes. These recipes are super useful when I have to be out of the house for the hour before dinnertime, which now happens every Monday and alternate Fridays, thanks to Kipper’s busy leisure and social calendar.
This baked risotto was an attempt to make something a bit different that still fitted the prepare-ahead criteria. I last had a go at baked risotto back when I was a student some poorly-defined *cough* number of years ago. At the time, I didn’t have a suitable dish to bake it in, so I improvised by lining a loose-bottom cake tin with foil. It was not a success. The stock leaked around the foil and out through the join at the bottom of the tin, and the end results were a) a hard and largely inedible baked risotto and b) a filthy oven. Gah.
This time though, I had the right equipment! My Mum gave me this casserole dish a while ago. It’s some special kind of ceramic that you can use on the hob, so you can start things off in it and then transfer it to the oven. Perfect. Mum actually bought this for herself before realising that it wouldn’t work on her induction cooker! Lucky me 🙂
This baked risotto is brilliant, because it comes out creamy and delicious, but you avoid all the tedious standing by the stove stirring. I made it up to the point where I added the stock, then shoved it in the oven. I’d put the oven on the timer, so it turned itself on and finished the cooking while we were out. If you’re not planning on going out, you could just as easily stick the pot straight in a hot oven and then put your feet up for 40 minutes while it cooks.
I used a few dried mushrooms to really intensify the baked risotto’s mushroomy flavour, and lots of interesting fungi (well, the best we could get from a supermarket) to give some texture to the finished dish. Everyone loved it – even Kipper, who has been avoiding mushrooms recently for reasons best known only to herself.
This made enough for four main course servings. You could also serve it as a side dish, in which case it would serve more.
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Wild mushroom baked risotto
- 15 g dried mushrooms (I used a 'forest mix')
- 2 small (or 1 medium) onion
- 6 cloves garlic
- 300 g mixed fresh mushrooms - e.g. white, chestnut, oyster, portabella, shiitake, maitake, enoki, shiro shimeji etc. (10.5 oz)
- 2-3 tbsp olive oil
- 200 g arborio rice (1 cup)
- 75 ml white wine (1/3 cup)
- 600 ml vegetable stock + another 150ml (2 2/3 cups + another 2/3 cup)
- 2-3 tbsp chopped parsley
Put the dried mushrooms in a cup and cover with boiling water. Set aside to soak.
Peel the onions and dice finely. Peel the garlic and cut each clove in half.
Trim any dirt from the mushroom stems, then slice, chop or separate, depending on the type of mushroom.
Heat the oil in a 2 litre (approx 2.5 quart) oven-proof pan or casserole dish. Saute the onions and garlic over a low-medium heat for 2-3 minutes, then add the fresh mushrooms. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5-7 minutes until soft.
Drain the soaked dried mushrooms, reserving the soaking liquid. Cut any large ones into pieces, then add to the pan with the onion & mushroom mixture. Cook for a further 2-3 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180C (350F).
Add the rice to the pan and stir well to coat with the oil and cooking juices. Strain the mushroom soaking liquid into the pan, and add the white wine. Simmer for a minute or two, stirring, until the liquid is absorbed.
Add the stock to the pan, cover with a lid, and transfer to the oven. Cook at 180C (350F) for 40-45 minutes until all the stock is absorbed and the rice is cooked.
Remove from the oven, stir in the remaining 150ml of stock and the chopped parsley, and allow to stand for 5 minutes before serving.
You can prepare the dish until it is ready for the oven, then set aside to bake later.
This will be my third and final entry into November’s Family Foodies, hosted by Louisa at Eat Your Veg and Vanesther at Bangers and Mash, which is after vegetarian recipes (this one’s even VEGAN!). And, as it’s a creamy warming delight starring the season’s wild mushrooms (if you can get your hands on them!), I’m also entering it into Simple & In Season, hosted by Katie at Feeding Boys and Ren at RenBehan.com.