I’ve always been afraid of risotto. I LOVE eating it in Italian restaurants. It’s creamy and delicious, and a wonderful comfort food. But the technique scares the ___ out of me. Mostly because I’m afraid of making a mistake and ending up with a pile of rice-like goo. But also because I have a two-and-a-half year old: I can’t even go to the bathroom by myself, much less spend an afternoon in the kitchen messing with boiling hot liquids.
So when I read about people who were baking risotto, the lights went off in my head. Genius. I could have my risotto and eat it too! Without spending hours at a stove when I could be watching the movie Flicka for the nine hundreth time. The flavors in this recipe came about because, well, that’s what I had in the fridge and they sounded good together. The dish tastes great the first night, but it’s surprisingly good reheated the next day as well.
All you busy parents and working folk…eat risotto without fear! Is it traditional? No. But is it tasty? You bet.
Baked Risotto with Sausage and Lemon
1 Tbsp. olive oil
4 Italian chicken sausage links, sliced (check your labels for dairy like lactic acid starter culture!)
1 small onion, diced
8 oz. button mushrooms, sliced
1 (32 oz.) box no-salt-added chicken broth (again, check your labels!)
1 (10 oz.) box frozen spinach
Zest and juice of one lemon
1 1/2 tsp. dried rosemary
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1 1/2 c. short-grain white rice (like Arborio or Jasmine)
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a large oven-safe Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add sausage and onion, and saute until the onions are translucent and the sausage is lightly browned. Add the mushrooms, chicken broth, and spinach, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Let the mixture come up to a boil, then stir in the lemon juice and zest, rosemary, ginger, and rice (the mixture will be very soupy). Put the cover on the pan and bake in the oven for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, check your dish every 5 minutes, stirring and checking to see if your rice is done. Cooking time will vary depending on the variety of rice you use. When all the liquid has been absorbed, remove the dish from the oven and serve!
This is an original recipe by Kristin Lanari. If you’d like to reprint this recipe, please give credit where credit is due!