I love risotto. Rich, creamy, and absolutely luscious when made correctly. But all too often at restaurants it arrives at the table moist and quickly becomes glue as it cools. Then I’m left to slug my way through the rest of the bowl, wishing I could slip in the back and use the microwave to reheat my dish!
The traditional way to make risotto taste creamy without adding any dairy is to cook it slowly, adding broth or water in small increments, stirring often to release the starches from the grains. Short grain rices like arborio, carnaroli, or other Italian rices labeled for use in risotto have the most starch and are the perfect choice.
If I have an extra half hour to spend stirring at the stove, making risotto can be meditative and relaxing. But most of the time I’m charging with a dozen things going at once and needing six more hands. So finding this hands-off technique was a life saver!
With this oven-baked version, you get all the flavor and creaminess of traditional risotto with none of the hassle of stirring at the stove. Throw everything into a baking dish and pop it in the oven. No muss, no fuss! And it is easy to make this dairy-free by leaving out the cheese or using a substitute. Great for both the gluten-free and dairy-free eaters in your family. Best of all, no one will feel deprived of anything!
If you want to make it even easier, use a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store, take the meat off the bone and cut into bite-sized chunks. If you’re gluten-free check with the store to make sure they don’t have any gluten ingredients in the marinade or sauces they use to prepare the chickens.
This was easy to make, incredibly delicious, and gave us leftovers for the next day. The Artist was actually happy to raid the refrigerator! Not his normal reaction, LOL. With my Gourmet Garden herbs in the freezer and fridge, I had everything I needed to put this on the table quickly – and time to work on the rest of the meal while it was baking instead of having to baby it on the stove.
This is a winner any way you slice it. Change out the seasonings (Gourmet Garden has lots to choose from!), replace the chicken with mushrooms for vegetarian, or including shrimp, pork, or turkey would all be delicious. Use the ingredients you have on hand and enjoy a whole new variety each time you make this – the sky is the limit once you know the technique!
While the weather is cold and everyone is craving comfort foods, make this wonderful risotto and your whole family will be clamoring for more. In fact, double the recipe and make sure you have plenty for second helpings and leftovers.
Have a wonderful weekend everyone! Enjoy the holiday and I’ll see you next week for Chocolate Monday! 🙂
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 small onion, peeled and chopped
- 4 carrots, trimmed and chopped
- 2 stalks celery, trimmed and chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, stem and seeds discarded, chopped
- 2 tbsp Gourmet Garden Basil stir-in paste
- 2 tbsp Gourmet Garden Oregano stir-in paste
- 1-1/2 cups uncooked Arborio or Carnaroli rice (short-grain or risotto-style rice)
- 2 cups chicken broth, preferably homemade
- 1 cup dry white wine or dry vermouth (or more broth if desired)
- Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 2 tbsp organic olive oil
- 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts or 4 thighs
- 3 oz fresh mozzarella cheese, drained and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Gourmet Garden Lightly Dried Parsley, for garnish
- Set a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 400°F.
- Place butter in a large skillet and melt over medium-high heat. Add the onions, carrots, celery, and peppers. Cook, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes. Add the herbs, stir them in, and continue cooking until the onions are translucent.
- In a 13-x-9-inch baking dish, add the rice, broth, and wine. Evenly distribute the rice over the bottom of the pan. Add the sauteed vegetables, scraping the skillet to get all the delicious juices and butter. Gently move the vegetables to evenly distribute them over the rice. Make sure the rice is submerged under the liquid. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Cover tightly with an ovenproof lid or aluminum foil. Place in the hot oven. Bake 35 to 45 minutes or until the rice is tender. Very carefully open the lid or bend back the foil, letting the steam escape without burning yourself. Depending on the type of rice you use, the timing can vary. If all the liquid has been absorbed but the rice isn’t tender, add a little more broth and return to the oven and continue cooking until done.
- While the rice is baking, prepare the chicken. In the same skillet you used for the vegetables, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper to taste and when the oil is shimmering, add chicken to the pan. Cook until golden brown, flip over with tongs and cook until chicken is just done, with a hint of pink in the center, and an instant read thermometer registers about 160°F when inserted into the thickest portion of the breasts.
- Transfer the chicken to a cutting board. Cut lengthwise into 1/2-inch wide slices. Spin the slices 1/4 turn and cut crosswise to make 1/2-inch cubes. Transfer to a plate, tent loosely with foil and place next to the oven.
- When the rice is done, fluff it with a fork. Stir in the cubed chicken and any accumulated juices. Scatter the mozzarella pieces over the top and sprinkle with the Parmesan. Place the pan back in the oven for 3 to 5 minutes to melt the cheeses and warm the chicken through. You can also put this under the broiler to speed up the melting. When hot, scoop into bowls, sprinkle the tops with parsley, and serve immediately.
- This dish is even better the second day, so make it in advance and refrigerate, covered, overnight. Reheat in the oven, microwave, or in a skillet until hot and the cheese is melted.
- Yield: 6 servings
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Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. I received compensation and products for recipe development.
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