And while you have the oven on...
A while back, Alicia at Posy Gets Cosy wrote a post where she mentioned making her first risotto and I commented that I do mine baked (most so that I don't have to hang around the cooker for half an hour), and kind of promised to post my recipe.
I must say that I too am a latecomer to the world of risotto. The idea of slimey creamy rice with cheese just didn't do it for me but I must have been having an extra optimistic day when I was looking for something to feed Stashlet and I thought I'd give it a go. Turns out the rice is not really slimey, and the cheese actually works, and Stashlet likes it too, so it has been appearing regularly on the Stash Towers menu in a number of variations.
So here, belatedly, is the recipe.
Oven-baked aubergine and courgette risotto
from the Baby-led Weaning Cookbook by Gill Rapley and Tracey Murkett
serves 2 adults and 1 baby (generously) (or 3 normal sized adult portions)
500-600ml (18-21 fl oz) vegetable stock
2 tbs olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 small aubergine
1 medium courgette
250g (9oz) risotto rice
knob of butter
60g (20z) grated parmesan
freshly ground pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 200C/ 400F/gm6 and put the stock on to heat in a pan.
Heat the oil (preferably in a flame-proof casserole so you don't have to transfer the food at the next stage). Add the onion and fry until soft. Add the garlic and after a few seconds, add the other vegetables. Cook until they start to soften. Add the rice and stir to make sure that all the grains have a light coating of oil. Add 500ml (18fl oz) of the stock and bring to the boil. Cover the dish (or transfer the mixture from the pan to an oven-proof casserole) and put it in the oven for 30 minutes, then stir gently and add more hot stock of necessary. Bake for another 10 minutes.
Remove from the oven, check the texture of the rice: if cooked add the butter (if using), parmesan cheese and black pepper, and stir again. Cover the dish and leave it to rest for a few minutes before serving.
A few notes:
If you're using this for baby weaning, cut the vegetables into sticks so that the baby can hold one end and eat the other. Otherwise, cut the veg however you want it.
Use a bigger pan than you would normally use to cook rice in - my first attempt had bits of veg sticking to the lid when it came out of the oven. Veg takes up more room than you'd think.
It seems to me that you can do pretty much anything you please with risotto. I've done several variations, the nicest was chicken and mushroom (3 chicken breasts sliced and browned with the onion, and 3 or 4 big portobello mushrooms cut into slices).
This stuff reheats well, and you can also make aranchini, which is basically cold risotto (with any big lumps cut small) rolled into little sausage shapes, dipped in egg and breadcrumbs and fried until crispy and golden. Haven't tried this yet but it sounds interesting.
I am bad and use stock cubes. My home made stock usually tastes crap. If you're feeding this to babies, make sure you use a low salt (or preferably no salt) stock.