Risotto is a dish which you make and then you have to eat it straight away otherwise it will be gluey and not so nice anymore.
There is an exception though, a risotto bake is a risotto which you can make in advance and then you can bake in the oven just before serving it.
Therefore this is great dish you can just pop in the oven when you come back from work or for a dinner party. Rice is also gluten free so suitable for celiacs too.
My risotto bake is very simple, in fact I have only added peas and tomato sauce to it. It goes without saying that you can be creative and add all sorts of different ingredients: pieces of ham or salami, extra cheese, peppers or other vegetables. A layer of mozzarella in the middle will make it really delicious and a topping of grated cheese and olive oil will make it crunchy on top. You could also add some breadcrumbs on top for extra crunchiness.
- Prep Time : 20 minutes
- Cook Time : 40 minutes
- Yield : 4
- rice for risotto (carnaroli or arborio) - 300 g - 1 + 1/3 cup
- passata or tomato sauce - 350 ml - 11.8 fl oz
- hot vegetable broth - 500 ml - 17 fl oz
- peas - 200 g - 1 + 1/3 cup
- onion - 1
- mozzarella cheese - 150 g - 1 + 1/2 cups
- olive oil
- grated parmesan or pecorino cheese - 4 tbsp
- butter - knob
- fresh basil leaves - handful
- salt and pepper
Chop the onion finely and stir fry it in a pan with 2 tbsp of olive oil.
Add the rice and toast it for a couple of minutes. Add the peas, the tomato sauce, salt and pepper and cover with the hot broth. Stir all the time (make sure the rice does not stick to the bottom of the pan) and add the broth as it dries out.
Cook the rice al dente for 15 minutes. When it is cooked switch off the heat, add 2 tbsp of parmesan, the butter and stir well.
Grease an oven proof baking tray measuring approx 27 x 18 cm or 11 x 7 inch then pour a thin layer of rice on it; level it well and place the sliced mozzarella on top with a few torn basil leaves (keep some leaves for decorating the final dish).
Cover with the remaining rice and level it well. Sprinkle with the remaining parmesan on top and a drizzle of olive oil. Bake for 20 minutes at 200 C or 390F.
Remove from the oven, let it rest for 10 minutes, decorate with the remaining basil leaves and serve.