Friday, March 2, 2012

Oven-baked artichoke and tomato risotto with basil

I've been told this morning that some people in this country lit fires this morning because it was so cold.

I cannot believe it. I was teaching a class at 8am today and the classroom didn't have aircon. It was like living in 1952, with fans blaring and me shouting to be heard over the top of them. I was ... er... "glowing", and regretting leaving my hair down today. It is so long and big it should have its own area code. People have mistaken it for a blanket at times.

However, as I'm reliably informed, autumn is here and SOME people are cold. Perfect time to put the oven on and bake a lovely risotto that gets silky and creamy with little attention from us. Ok, those of us who don't have thermomixes, anyway.

I wasn't convinced a baked risotto would be as good as an original, because it really is the stirring that makes it so delicious. But I was lazy, and time-poor and gave it a shot and I'm pleased to say it works. The rice grains do disintegrate a little more than usual (could just be me, leaving it in there for so long), but I found that if I gave it a good stir, almost like a beating, when I took it out of the oven and added the cheese, it went from a stodgy mess to a creamy concoction. Much better. It helps to add water or stock at this time to help loosen it and ensure you've not got sticky lumps of goo instead of smooth risotto. It should ooze when you put it on the plate, not sit there all moulded into cute shapes or blobs. No siree, blob!

1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
400g risotto rice
100ml white wine
1 litre stock
1 cup grated fresh parmesan
1 can artichokes, quartered,
2 fresh tomatoes, diced
handful fresh basil leaves


1. In an oven-safe lidded casserole, saute onion and garlic gently in butter and olive oil until translucent.

2. Add rice, wine, and stock. Put lid on and place in a pre-heated 180C oven.

3. Bake for 30-40 mins. You can stir in intervals if you want, but I didn't bother.

4. Remove when risotto is soft and cooked to your liking. With a wooden spoon, beat the risotto until it loosens and becomes smooth. You may need some water or extra stock.

5. Add artichokes, tomatoes and parmesan. Check for seasoning.

6. Tear some basil over the top and mix. Serve with extra parmesan and basil on top.


  1. Yum, Saturday night dinner, sorted. Ps It is Freezing here, like 18 degrees freezing. I need to move up North.

  2. WHAT? What is going on in that place? Didn't you even have summer?