I would hate for anyone to watch this blog and think that cooking is always an easygoing, relaxed and blissful experience in our house. The reality, as any parent knows, is that sometimes it is hard work and on Thursday, after a promising start, a very tired toddler in full Delinquent Mode and his equally tired daddy made for a tricky mix in the kitchen…
The recipe itself didn’t cause any problems. It is very easy to make and is one of our most regular meals here. But in fairness to Archie, the day had got late and his mixture of tiredness and hunger left him more interested in wreaking havoc than helping with the dish. If there was one lesson I learnt this time, it is to never again put a bowl full of rice in front of him when he has “M.I.S.C.H.I.E.F” written across his forehead.
In this kind of relatively difficult environment, it was a fortuitous choice to make this tantrum-proof (his tantrum, not mine, although it was a very close call), fail-safe risotto . It’s a really delicious, comforting dish on a cold, dark evening and eating it was the perfect antidote for all of us to the ambient stress which had gone before. A classic case of the end justifying the means…
Tonight I am cooking a pasta and hope to post it on here by Wednesday.
Oven baked chicken and vegetable risotto
Preparation time 10 minutes, total cooking time 30 minutes.
Easily serves a family of four, with more to spare. As it takes the same amount of effort to cook risotto for three people as to make it for 6 people, I always make more than we need for one meal. Depending on how many adult and little ones you are cooking for, this recipe will make 5 – 8 portions.
Preheat your oven to 210°C/410°F (190/ 375°F for a fan oven)
300g Arborio risotto rice (or any other type of risotto rice)
One large carrot, two sticks of celery and one courgette, all diced
One chopped onion
Two chopped garlic cloves.
100g of Parmesan. I use a mature Reggiano Parmesan for extra flavour. We are lucky to have a Costco nearby and I buy big blocks of it. Buying it this way costs literally one third of what it costs in the supermarket.
Two large chicken breasts, cut into 2cm cubes.
900ml of good quality chicken stock. I have also used Marigold vegetable stock with this recipe in the past and it works very well too.
- In a large oven-proof dish, heat up a few table spoons of olive oil, add the onions and garlic, followed one minute later by the vegetables and cook them on a high heat for 3-4 minutes until they have just started to soften very slightly.
- Pour in the rice and stir it in with the vegetables.
- Add the chicken (or vegetable) stock and bring to the boil.
- Cover the dish and put it in the oven. Leave to cook for 12 minutes.
- Take the dish out of the oven, give the mixture a good long stir, then stir in the raw chicken.
- Cover the dish again and put it back in the oven for a further 7-8 minutes.
- Take the dish out of the oven and check that the chicken cubes are cooked through. This is very important as cooking time can be longer if your cubes were larger than mine. If they are still a little pink in the middle, put the dish back in the oven for a few minutes.
- Give the risotto another long stir to cream it up a little, mix in the parmesan and add salt and pepper if you want to.
- Cover the dish for one last time and leave it rest for a couple of minutes.
- Serve with extra parmesan to taste…