Baked happiness

Here’s the thing with this time of year. It’s cold (duh), wet (sometimes) and turns me into a bed dwelling house cat. Given that I’m generally opposed to exercise and anything resembling health food, I like my winter dinners to be a little… Indulgent.

This recipe serves two, and it took great restraint on my part not to eat the whole dish in one sitting. Seriously, I’m proud of myself as I get gently reminded regularly when faced with too much food that I actually don’t have to eat it all. I don’t really understand the point of that. It’s there, OF COURSE I have to eat it.

I know risotto is the dish of death on MasterChef, but to me it’s the dish of life. It’s good for the soul, it’s good for warming the body, and, if you throw in some roasted vegetables, maybe just a little bit good for you too. Roast whatever vege is in the fridge – it’s a great way to use up any leftovers. I had pumpkin, cherry tomatoes and capsicum, plus some spinach. ALWAYS add garlic, as the roasting process makes it sweeter, and at the same time a slightly salty taste that I can only describe as awesome. after that, it’s up to you.

I love the idea of Meat-Free Monday, and this is a quick, really easy weeknight meal which is about as effortless-yet-impressive-looking as you can get. Fact.

Roast Vegetable Baked Risotto

From Epicurious

1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 onion or leek, finely chopped
3/4 cup Arborio rice
1/4 cup dry white wine (use more stock if you have none)
2 to 2 1/4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
3/4 tsp salt
Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
1 to 2 tbsp unsalted butter
A handful of washed spinach
Vegetables. Whatever you want, as much as you want. Just dice them small for even roasting. If you need a recipe for that, check here

1) Preheat the oven to 200°C. Roast the vegetables in a roasting tray on the top rack of the oven.

2) Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion/leek and garlic and cook, stirring, until it is soft.

3) Add the rice and stir to coat with the oil. Stir in the wine and cook until the wine has evaporated, 1 minute more. Stir in 2 cups of stock water, season with salt and pepper, and bring to a boil. Place the rice in a oven proof dish, cover with foil and place in the oven. Bake on the bottom rack during the last 25 minutes of roasting time for the veggies. Most of the liquid should be absorbed and the rice just cooked.

4) Remove the risotto from the oven and stir in another 1/2 cup of stock and butter.

Stir through the spinach until wilted. Serve topped with roasted vegetables and parmesan.


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