This Creamy Lemon Herb Baked Risotto recipe uses an entirely hands off method of cooking risotto in the oven. Unlike usual risotto recipes, there’s no need to stir, you don’t even need to sauté onion!
It’s incredibly luscious yet also fresh from the herbs and lemon. Pairs especially well with fish, prawns and chicken.
Effortless creamy Baked Risotto recipe
There will always be a place for risotto made the traditional way, stirring leisurely on the stove for a good 25 minutes.
This no-stir no-saute “dump and bake” risotto recipe is for all the other times. It is:
- incredibly creamy;
- perfectly cooked “al dente” rice;
- requires no stirring during cooking – not even once; and
- does not even require sautéing of onion or garlic beforehand – it “self sautés” in butter in the oven because it floats.
I tell people it is 98.5% as good as the traditional way made on the stove where hot stock is gradually ladled in, and you have to stir constantly for 25 minutes. But truthfully, most ordinary folk would not be able to tell the difference. Hand on heart, it is that good!
What you need for creamy baked risotto
Here’s what you need to make this entirely hands off creamy risotto in the oven. The base recipe is a creamy Parmesan Risotto which is delicious just as it is, but I’ve also added a Lemon Herb flavouring option which is insanely good!
- Risotto rice – to make risotto, you need to use risotto rice which is called Arborio rice, it’s different to ordinary white rice because it’s got a higher level of starch on the surface which thickens the cooking liquid used and makes the risotto beautifully creamy without the need for cream;
- Chicken stock/broth – we use a whole carton in this recipe (4 cups / 1 litre). Nice and handy because no measuring is required! Be sure to use low sodium (ie low salt) otherwise the end result will be a touch on the salty side after the parmesan is added;
- Parmesan – for a umami flavour punch, to compensate for not sautéing the garlic and onion nor deglazing the pot using white wine like I do with all my stovetop risottos like my favourite Mushroom Risotto;
- Garlic and onion – finely chopped and minced, just like normal;
- Butter – some for the cooking part, some to stir in at the end. You can cut down on the butter at the end if you insist, but don’t skimp on the butter for the cooking part because the onion and garlic “self-sautes” in the butter. If you cut the butter down, the onion will just boil!
This is what the plain Creamy Parmesan Risotto looks like. I call it “plain” – but there’s certainly nothing plain about how it tastes!!
Lemon Herb flavouring option
To make the Lemon Herb flavour, all you need is one lemon, and any herbs of choice – I used parsley, chives and dill.
- Lemon – we use the lemon rind for lemon flavour, as well as the juice for freshness; and
- Herbs – I’ve used a 1-2-3 combination of parsley (1 tbsp), chives (2 tbsp) and dill (3 tbsp). Using a ratio like that is a good way to find a good balance with a herb flavour (dill, in this case) with complimentary flavours (parsley and chives in this case, both of which are more subtle). You can use any herbs you want and it’s easy to figure out how much to add because we just add the herbs in right at the end so just keep adding to your taste!
How to make Creamy Baked Risotto
Recipes don’t get any easier than this – put it all in a dish, cover and bake! (OK OK, there is stirring required at the end, but I still stand that it’s a “dump and bake” recipe!)
- Heat stock using whatever means you want – stove, microwave. Just until hot and steamy, doesn’t need to boil. This ensure the rice cooks evenly. Can’t be bothered? That’s fine too. Just add 10 – 12 minutes to the bake time, to factor in the time it takes for the stock to heat up in the oven;
- Put everything in casserole dish – the rice, stock, butter, onion and garlic;
- Bake 35 minutes – cover then bake for 35 minutes, or until the rice is just cooked. Not all ovens are created equal so it may take a bit longer in yours;
- Liquidy – yes it will look watery when you take it out and it won’t look creamy or appetising at all. But have faith! It will become creamy in the next step…
- Stir vigorously – Add the parmesan and extra butter, then stir the risotto vigorously until you see the liquid starting to thicken and turn white. By stirring the risotto, you are activating the starch in the risotto which reacts with fat (butter in this case) and thickens the liquid to make it creamy!
- Thick and creamy, not dry and stodgy! The risotto should be thick and creamy, and ooze rather than be stodgy and dry. Nobody likes stodgy risotto!
- Lemon and herbs last, if using – lastly, add the lemon and fresh herbs. We do this right at the end to preserve the fresh flavour; and
- Plate up quickly while it’s still oozy and creamy! If it gets too thick, just add 1 tbsp of boiling water at a time and stir it in well to loosen it up.
Reheating Risotto – this one reheats well!
Ordinarily you will read in recipes that risotto does not keep well and that leftovers are just good for making Arancini balls. And there’s no denying that risotto is at its best when freshly made!
However, if you cook the risotto rice so it is just tender (rather than mushy and soft) and the risotto is creamy enough (like pictured) it actually reheats very very well. Nice and creamy, and 100% delicious!
What to serve with risotto
Risotto is a wonderful side dish that’s somehow both comforting and rustic and can also be plated up very elegantly. I think of it as a side dish / sauce – because it’s so creamy, and ideal for mopping up with each bite of steak or chops, prawns or fish.
The Lemon Herb Risotto is particular excellent with fish, being that fish loves lemon, and the soft texture of the risotto isn’t too harsh against tender fish flesh.
In fact, I’m sharing this risotto recipe today by popular demand after I showed the Lemon Herb Risotto as the side dish for a Crispy Skin Salmon I shared on Monday! That is why the risotto is heavy on the dill – because dill and salmon is a natural pairing! – Nagi x
Watch how to make it
Creamy Baked Risotto (no-stir, no-saute!)
- 1 1/2 cups risotto rice (Note 1)
- 4 cups chicken stock , low sodium (or vegetable)
- 1/2 onion , finely diced (brown, white, yellow)
- 1 garlic clove , finely minced (large!)
- 30g/ 2 tbsp butter , unsalted, cut into 1.5cm / 1/2″ pieces
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/3 cup parmesan cheese , finely grated (store bought pre grated is fine)
- 30g/ 2 tbsp Extra butter , unsalted, cut into 1.5cm / 1/2″ pieces (Note 3)
Lemon Herb Flavour (excellent with fish & prawns, Note 4):
- 2 tsp lemon rind (1 lemon)
- 2 – 3 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp parsley , finely chopped
- 2 tbsp chives , finely chopped
- 3 tbsp dill , finely chopped
Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F (all oven types).
Heat up the chicken stock until just before boiling using whatever method suits – stove or microwave.
Pour the stock into a small casserole pot ~24cm/10″ wide. Then add all the remaining Risotto ingredients – rice, butter, onion, garlic, pepper.
Cover with lid or foil, bake 35 minutes or until rice is just cooked – tender but not mushy. The risotto will still look liquidy – that’s what you want to ensure risotto is creamy at the end!
Remove from oven, stir ta few times to break up rice. Add Extra butter and parmesan, then stir vigorously until the watery liquid becomes creamy, and mostly evaporates/gets absorbed.
Risotto should be oozy and creamy, not thick, gluey or stodgy. If it gets too thick, add 1 tbsp of boiling water at a time to loosen it up, stirring well after each addition.
Taste to see if you want more salt or pepper (I do not).
Serve while hot and creamy, garnished with more parmesan if desired!
Lemon Herb flavouring option:
Add lemon rind, juice and herbs, stir through gently just before serving.
2. Pot/pan – 20cm/8″ square pan also works, or similar volume any other size. Just don’t want to use a giant pan because then the risotto spreads too thin and might dry out.
If you scale recipe up, then you need a larger pot. Or down!
3. Extra butter – if you really want to reduce the fat, you can skip the Extra butter. But do NOT skimp on butter for the cooking phase – it is essential for the onion and garlic to “oven saute” in the butter while it bakes (it floats on the sauce with the butter). Otherwise, the onion just boils in stock – not as nice!
4. Herbs – any other herbs of choice is fine here, easy to adjust because you just add it right at the end and taste to decide when you’ve used enough!
5. Storage & reheating – unlike most risottos, this one will reheat well as long as the rice is cooked until tender not mushy and soft. Keeps 4 days in the fridge, reheat in microwave. Add touch of water if needed to loosen. Note that herbs may lose colour. Also lemon flavour fades, so consider tarting it up with a fresh spritz.
Life of Dozer
That time he tried to plead innocence over the big wet patch on my newly mopped floors….
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