Good morning! I’m feeling a little blinky after the three-day weekend, how about you? Like, today feels like Monday but it’s really Tuesday. Blink. Why is my to-do list so long? Blink. Blink. Need more coffee.
Blink. This risotto has been on my list since I figured out how to make baked brown rice risotto last fall. Risotto made with brown rice takes almost twice as long to cook (fact), but my method of baking it in a Dutch oven and stirring it for just a few minutes at the end seriously cuts down on effort.
For this springtime take on risotto, I kept it simple and steamed the peas in the pot during the last ten minutes of baking. I opted to roast the asparagus while the pot is in the oven, since roasted asparagus tastes best.
It all comes together painlessly and leaves plenty of time to clean up and sip some leftover white wine while the risotto bakes in the oven. Let me know how you like it!
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 cup chopped yellow onion (about 1 small yellow onion, chopped)
- 2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
- 5 cups (40 ounces) vegetable broth, divided (if your broth comes in 32-ounce containers, feel free to avoid opening another container by substituting 1 cup water for 1 cup broth in step 3)
- 1½ cups brown arborio/short-grain brown rice
- 1 big bunch of fresh asparagus spears (about 1 pound)
- 1½ cups fresh English peas (about 8 ounces)
- 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- ½ cup dry white wine, optional
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced
- 1 teaspoon sea salt, more to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Pinch red pepper flakes, to taste
- Zest and juice of ½ lemon, preferably organic (about ¼ teaspoon zest and 1 tablespoon juice)
- Handful chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
- Make sure your oven rack is in the middle position and place another rack in the lower third of the oven. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a medium Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and turning translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook until the garlic is fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes.
- Add 4 cups broth (or 3 cups broth and 1 cup water), cover, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Remove from heat and stir in the rice. Cover the pot and bake for 55 minutes.
- Meanwhile, prepare the asparagus by snapping off the tough ends and discarding them, then slicing the spears diagonally into 1½-inch long pieces. On a large, rimmed baking sheet, toss the asparagus with 1 tablespoon olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Set aside for now.
- Once the risotto has been in the oven for 55 minutes, transfer the asparagus to the lower rack of the oven. Carefully remove the pot from the oven and take off the lid. Quickly dump the peas inside, cover the pot again and return it to the oven for another 10 minutes. (This will give the peas time to steam.)
- Remove the pot from the oven, but leave the asparagus in for another 5 to 10 minutes, until tender and roasted to your liking. Remove the lid and pour in the remaining cup of broth, the Parmesan, wine, butter, salt, a generous amount of pepper, a pinch of red pepper flakes and the zest and juice of half your lemon.
- Using a big spoon, stir vigorously for 2 to 3 minutes, until the rice is thick and creamy. Stir in the roasted asparagus. Season to taste with salt and pepper, divide into bowls and top with a generous sprinkling of chopped fresh parsley.
MAKE IT VEGAN: The starch in the short-grain rice is responsible for most of the risotto's creaminess, so you can skip the Parmesan and add a vegan butter substitute or some extra olive oil, to taste, in place of the butter. You might want to add nutritional yeast, to taste, for some cheesy flavor.
STORAGE SUGGESTIONS: This risotto keeps well in the refrigerator, covered, for a few days.
CHANGE IT UP: Feel free to skip either the peas or the asparagus for a more simple (but still plenty green) risotto.
IF YOU MUST USE WHITE ARBORIO RICE: Bake it for 40 to 45 minutes, until tender to the bite, and proceed as directed.