I like making risotto, for starters it tastes good. However, as a parent of two young children it has another huge advantage. When you make it on the hob you have to stand there and keep it stirring. It’s a great excuse for some “me time” – by me time I do mean standing at the hob stirring risotto, but there’s something I find quite therapeutic about it. The ability to answer every “muuuuuuum!” with “ask your Dad I’m making dinner and if I come now it’ll be ruined” makes me surprisingly happy. The same applies to other classics such as custard or béchamel sauce.
Unfortunately this relaxing cooking time is not always practical. Jon isn’t home from work until late which means that I’m in the house with the boys by myself cooking dinner. Despite my occasional desire to be able to block out the non-stop merry-go-round of “mum, I need you” they’re my babies, I’m here to look after them and so I’ll always go and help. This meant that my risotto had to get more practical.
I read a while ago about baked risotto and finally decided to give it a try. The great thing about it is that you spend a few minutes getting all of the ingredients ready and then pop it into the oven to cook. No being chained to the stove.
I decided to make a red wine risotto (another thing I heard about a while ago and didn’t get around to making). It has a richer flavour and compliments the chorizo really well. I’ve shunned the usual risotto cheese of parmesan for manchego. I discovered manchego a while ago when looking for a vegetarian alternative to parmesan and I wouldn’t go back. I absolutely love the flavour. However, if you’re a parmesan fan then feel free to substitute it in.
Two very important rules when making baked risotto
Whenever I can I try and share a few extra hints and tips about my recipes. Things I’ve picked up along the way from previous cooking disasters, in an attempt to help you learn from my mistakes.
I would say that of all my tips, these are definitely the most important…
- Don’t forget that the cooking pot has been in the oven and try and remove the lid with your bare hands. I’ve made this mistake several times now and I think I’ve remembered not to do this only once… it hurts. The time saved from not standing stirring the risotto is then wasted holding my hand under the cold tap trying to cool my burnt hand. This leads me to number 2…
- Don’t polish off the wine while the risotto is cooking. I suspect that the chances of me remembering to put my oven gloves on would be much higher if I didn’t sample some of the wine (just to make sure it’s OK) while I’m cooking.
Baked Chorizo and Asparagus Risotto
Active Time:10 minutes
Total Time:30 minutes
- Large ovenproof pan with lid
- Sharp knife & chopping board
- Measuring jug
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 red onion
- 130g chorizo (I buy ready diced to save time)
- 300g arborio rice
- 150ml red wine
- 400g can chopped tomatoes
- A few sprigs of thyme
- 400ml chicken stock (or 400ml water and 1 chicken stock cube)
- 125g asparagus (this is the weight with the woody bits removed)
- 125g frozen peas
- 50g manchego cheese
If you’d prefer not to cook with wine then substitute it for 150ml water. The flavour will not be as rich but it’ll still taste good. You can also substitute the manchego cheese for parmesan if you prefer.
- Pre-heat the oven to 220ºC/200ºC fan
- Finely chop the red onion.
- Heat the olive oil (1 tsp) in a large pan, add the red onion and chopped chorizo (130g) and cook on a low heat for 5 minutes stirring regularly to avoid burning.
- Add the arborio rice (300g) and cook for a further minute, stirring regularly.
- Add the red wine (150ml), chopped tomatoes (400g can), chicken stock (400ml) and thyme and bring to the boil.
- While the risotto is coming to the boil, roughly chop the asparagus (so each one is in about three pieces).
- Once the risotto is bubbling, add the asparagus, put the lid on and put into the oven for 10 minutes.
- After 10 minutes, add the frozen peas (125g) and stir. Return to the oven for a further 8-10 minutes until the rice is just soft but still has a little bite to it – you may want to check the risotto occasionally to ensure that it’s not too dry. If it looks dry before the rice is fully cooked, add a little more water and give it a stir.
- While the risotto is cooking, finely grate the manchego cheese (50g).
- Once the rice is cooked, remove from the oven (don’t forget the hot lid!), remove the sprigs of thyme and stir in the grated cheese – you may also want to add a little salt to your taste. Personally I choose not to as there’s plenty in the other ingredients for my tastes.
Calories: 553 kcal (28%), Fat: 17.8g (25%), Saturated Fat: 7.7g (38%), Carbohydrates: 69.2g (27%), Sugar: 6.0g (7%), Fibre: 4.4g (18%), Protein: 20.3g (41%), Salt: 2.1g (35%)
2 of your 5-a-day fruit and vegetables.
This is the estimated nutritional information per serving. Please refer to my guide to Charlotte’s Lively Kitchen nutritional information if you want to learn more about how this is calculated.