Baked Spring Veggie Risotto

Like every other person on the planet, I LOVE risotto! What I don’t love is that it is an incredibly high maintenance dish that requires lots of stirring and watching and waiting. I wanted to find a way to create a easy risotto that has all the creamy comfort of the original with minimal work. The secret is to BAKE the risotto. Now I know you may be skeptical, and I was too, but after a bit of experimentation, I created Weeknight Risotto.

Now I couldn’t resist making some other healthy modifications to this dish, so there is no butter, minimal cheese, and I substituted healthy pearled barley for traditional arborio. Barley is a wonderful whole grain that creates a creamy texture to the dish. I used spring vegetables as an inspiration and added leeks, peas and asparagus. A bit of lemon juice and some fresh Parmesan add intense, light flavor.

This is one of those dishes that feels so bad, but is really so good. It’s light, simple and you throw everything in the oven and serve. I topped it with some fresh Parmesan and an herb gremolata.

And now onto the giveaway … 

And the winner of the Cast Iron Skillet Giveaway is: Lauren from The Hippie Dog Company

Congrats Lauren! And thank you to everyone who entered. This was such a blast that I’m planning another giveaway for next month. Stay tuned!

Read more for the Baked Risotto Recipe!!!

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 medium leek, rinsed, trimmed and sliced
1 cup pearled barley
3 cups of low sodium veggie broth, divided
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 cup shelled peas (fresh or frozen)
1 lb bunch of asparagus, ends trimmed, washed and cut into 1-2″ chunks
1/4 cup grated Parmesan (plus more for garnish)
2 tbsp fresh rosemary, washed and chopped
2 tbsp fresh parsley, washed and chopped

Gremolata: Mix all ingredients together and set aside until time to serve
2 tbsp fresh parsley, washed and chopped
2 tbsp fresh rosemary, washed and chopped
2 tbsp lemon zest

Step by Step Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 375
2. In a cast iron skillet or dutch oven, saute onion and leek in olive oil on medium heat, 6-7 minutes, stirring frequently
3. Add barley, lemon juice, salt, pepper and 2 cups of broth, cover and bake for 15 minutes
4. Remove from oven. At this point, most of the liquid should be absorbed.
5. Stir in remaining 1 cup of broth, peas, asparagus, Parmesan, rosemary and parsley
6. Cover and return to oven. Bake for another 15 minutes
7. Remove from heat and serve sprinkled with Parmesan and garnished with 1 tbsp gremolata

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12 Responses to Baked Spring Veggie Risotto

  1. D B May 28, 2012 at 6:56 pm #

    Nice dish, and I can appreciate the weeknight I'm tired, but hungry appeal, but I actually find standing over a stovetop stirring my risotto can help clear my head especially after a busy day. I also miss those visual and aromatic clues such as deglazing my pan with wine and tasting my aborio to tell when it's al dente…

  2. Pola M May 28, 2012 at 8:40 pm #

    That risotto looks delicious! I have to try this baking technique!

  3. yummychunklet May 28, 2012 at 10:08 pm #

    This looks delicious. I like your modifications!

  4. Baker Street May 29, 2012 at 2:22 am #

    A baked risotto is surely the way to go! Excellent choice of ingredients which makes for a very wholesome meal. :)

  5. gastronomic nomad May 29, 2012 at 4:45 pm #

    Love that you came up with a baked risotto recipe and looking forward to trying it! There's nothing I want to do less (esp in the summer) than standing over a hot open stove stirring. Like the use of gremolata to freshen it up even more.

  6. Tina Bk May 29, 2012 at 4:52 pm #

    This does make for a great comfort meal. I always have had risotto as a side dish, however, your post here is making me re-think that! Great mix of veggies and spices-delicious meal.

  7. Jenne May 29, 2012 at 4:57 pm #

    My other half loves risotto so I am going to have to try this out!

  8. CJ - Food Stories May 29, 2012 at 5:39 pm #

    Looks like a great, healthy version :-)

  9. Stephanie May 29, 2012 at 6:08 pm #

    Yum, this sounds delicious! I have a bag of pearled barley that I've been meaning to use – I think this is the perfect recipe for it! Love all of the spring veggies.

  10. Jenn Kendall May 29, 2012 at 7:50 pm #

    i love this – i can't believe it is baked! such an awesome idea! and that gremolata just sounds perfect, a fresh and vibrant addition to the risotto

  11. OnSugarMountain June 1, 2012 at 3:13 pm #

    I have been trying (to no avail) to make risotto because like you, I LOVE it but can not handle the uber maintenance needed to achieve success. Sometimes you just want instant comfort food you know? So I am SO glad you showed me a way to achieve this! All the veggies are an extra plus for sure :)

  12. Lauren - Hippie Dog Company June 11, 2012 at 6:15 pm #

    Thank you so much! :) This risotto is a must try too!

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