I’m currently writing this post from a darling little café in Victoria, BC. I’m here with a friend on a mini-vacation. I’ve been doing the usual touristy things, including sampling the local cuisine. Which for me, consists mostly of the Callebaut Chocolate and the Nanaimo Bars! Have you had a Nanaimo Bar before? I had heard of them, but never had the opportunity to try one until now. I’ve tasted a few so far since I’ve been here (maybe one too many!) and they all have been a bit different. I think this will definitely be something I will try and re-create once I’m back home in Seattle. (Update: I made Nanaimo Bars! You can find the recipe here.).
I plan to share more stories and pictures from my trip in a later post. But for today, I bring you my favorite springtime Risotto recipe. What makes this Risotto recipe my favorite? How about the fact that there is NO STIRRING involved. OK, minor exaggeration. You do have to stir it a couple times to get all the ingredients incorporated. But that’s it. You actually bake the Risotto in your oven, freeing you up from the typical 30-ish minutes of standing at the stovetop. Sorry, you’ll have to get your arm workout somewhere else this week.
This Baked Spring Vegetable Risotto comes out as creamy and rich-tasting as other traditional, stir-centric versions. And it’s loaded with peas, mushrooms, asparagus and spinach. And since you’re no longer chained to your kitchen, it’s a Risotto you could actually make for a Holiday or dinner party. Imagine that – actually being able to mingle with your own house guests! What a concept!
This would be a great addition to your Easter brunch menu. But it’s simple and quick enough to earn a spot in your weeknight meal rotation.
Recipe adapted from Real Simple Magazine
Baked Spring Vegetable Risotto
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced (I like white button or crimini mushrooms)
- 1 cup asparagus, chopped into 1-inch pieces
- 1 shallot, diced
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. black pepper
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 3 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
- 1 cup Arborio rice
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1 cup fresh spinach leaves, roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- Pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees. In a medium oven-proof pot with a tight fitting lid (I used my Le Creuset Round French Oven), melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium-high heat. Add the sliced mushrooms and sauté, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms are softened, about 5 minutes. Add the chopped asparagus and sauté for an additional 2 minutes. Remove the mushrooms and asparagus, transferring them to a small bowl. Set aside.
- Add the remaining tablespoon of butter to the pot and sauté the diced shallot, stirring frequently, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the salt, black pepper and minced garlic and sauté for an additional 1-2 minutes, or until the garlic is fragrant. Add the white wine and cook, scraping the bottom of the pot, until the wine is almost evaporated, about 2-3 minutes. Stir in the vegetable broth and Arborio rice. Bring everything to a boil, then cover the pot and transfer it to your pre-heated oven. Cook for 20-25 minutes.
- Remove the pot from the oven and carefully remove the lid. There may be a 1/2-inch of liquid remaining on the surface. That’s OK, it will get absorbed by the rice as you stir in the remaining ingredients. Stir in the peas, spinach, Parmesan cheese and the reserved mushrooms and asparagus. Taste for salt and pepper. Serve with additional Parmesan cheese, if desired.
- Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.
1. I used to make a dairy-free version of this for a friend who had a food allergy. Just replace the butter with extra-virgin olive oil. And omit the Parmesan cheese, but add a few extra pinches of salt to make up for the lost salty-ness normally attributed from the Parmesan.