Broccoli and White Cheddar Oven Risotto

Dec 12th

I’m not a big fan of rice; out of almost 400 recipes on here only 3 contain rice (and a lot contain chocolate), and two are risotto. Risotto is like the Marilyn Monroe of rices – the exceptional luxurious slutty beauty of the rice world. Like Marilyn, it’s often misunderstood. Let me explain.

Some people think risotto is creamy because there is cream in it. Alas, this is untrue. The seed itself, called “arborio rice”, releases tons of starch while it cooks leading to a lovely creamy quality. Cheese is usually added at the end, and this does increase the creaminess, but as you’ll see when you make this risotto it’s plenty creamy on it’s own.

I never cook risotto for company because it’s rather “hands-on” – you have to add the liquid slowly and stir continuously. Turns out that theory has been blown to bits because risotto cooks up beautifully in the oven! That’s as hands off as you get. Very happy to eat my big bowl of tender, creamy risotto just about 30 minutes after I started the process and I even took a shower while it was in the oven. Perfect for a week night as it cooks up quickly and if your meat-loving family needs some extra protein, just serve it with sliced grilled chicken on top.

Broccoli and White Cheddar Oven Risotto

Serves 4-6 (6 as a side)

4 c. low-sodium chicken broth

7 c. broccoli florets

1 tbsp. olive oil

1/4 tsp. kosher salt

3 tbsp. butter, divided

1 onion, diced fine

1 3/4 c. arborio rice

1/3 c. dry white wine (chardonnay is best)

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

1/2 tsp. black pepper

1 c. hot water

1 c. grated sharp white cheddar cheese

1. Position oven racks to highest and lowest positions and preheat oven to 425 degrees. Pour chicken broth into small sauce pan and heat to simmering.

2. Line a baking sheet with foil and spread broccoli even over surface. Toss with 1 tbsp. olive oil and 1/4 tsp. kosher salt and set aside.

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3. In dutch oven or oven-proof pot, heat 2 tbsp. of the butter over medium high heat until melted. Add onion and saute until soft and fragrant, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4. Add rice and stir to coat.

5. Add wine and stir for about a minute until liquid evaporates.

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6. Add simmering chicken broth along with 1/2 tsp. salt and pepper. Return to a boil.

7. Place lid on pot and place pot on lowest rack in oven. Place broccoli on upper rack.

8. Cook for 23-25 minutes, stirring once mid way through.

9. Remove from oven and stir 1 c. hot water, remaining 1 tbsp. water, and cheese into rice until smooth. Add more water if necessary.

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10. Add broccoli and stir to combine. Serve immediately.

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