Finally, an oven risotto that is spot on!

Oven risotto is quite finicky and usually ends up either too dry with undercooked rice or too wet and soggy. This one was just amazing.

It shouldn’t be a big surprise that this delicious vegetarian dish is based on a recipe from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage Light & Easy cookbook. Hands down one of the cookbooks that I have been using the most in the past couple of years for vegetarian dishes.

This recipe is indeed light & easy and pretty tasty on its own when it came out of the oven. We did finish it with some butter and cheese as we thought it could use a tad more creaminess and punch. This is also due to fact that I didn’t have any chilli oil at hand, so the butter and a small sprinkling of dried chili flakes had to do the trick for us. It definately did, but I also read several reviews online that the chili oil made elevated the dish significantly! Next time…

Although it takes quite a bit time to prepare (overall about 90 minutes), prepping the ingredients doesn’t take long. On the upside, it is mainly waiting for the shallots to caramelize and the risotto to cook in the oven. You only need to put in ingredients and give everything a good stir only twice, so plenty of time to do other things whilst the kitchen will slowly start to smell fabulous!

The recipe (serves 4)

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 300g / 10oz of shallots, peeled and quartered lengthways
  • a few good sprigs of thyme
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 325g / 8oz chestnut mushrooms, destalked and cut into large chunks
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 250g  / 6.5oz risotto rice
  • 1 litre / 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 tbsp butter (optional)
  • 90gr / 3oz Parmesan-style cheese, grated (optional)
  • Chili oil, to finish
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C/355F.
  2. Put the olive oil, shallots, thyme and some salt and pepper in a large roasting tin and toss together well. The shallots should snugly cover the bottom of the tin.
  3. Put the roasting tin in the oven and roast for 30 minutes.
  4. Then add the garlic, mushrooms and balsamic vinegar. Stir well and return to the oven for 15 minutes.
  5. Tip the risotto rice into the tin and stir to coat lightly with the oils and flavourings, then add the hot stock and stir again. Return to the oven for 30 minutes, giving it a good stir halfway through.
  6. Take the roasting tin out of the oven and when using stir in the butter into the risotto. Remove the thyme stalks as the risotto settles for about 5 minutes.
  7. Taste and add salt as needed and serve with a drizzle of chili oil and/or black pepper and grated cheese.

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