All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013
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OK! So. I posted a traditionally prepared risotto. Now, I am posting the lazy man’s risotto. Baked. No stirring. I had never tried this before. To be honest – I found it a tad overcooked & mushy but (as I have already confessed) I am not a texture whore and (as I will confess now) I am a food whore and – if not an all around hedonist – I am certainly invested in consumption-based hedonism. So this brie-laced mush had my name ALL OVER IT!
This recipe will present to you many opportunities. I added my googolplex of flavor-rich food accoutrements AFTER the risotto was cooked. You could add the ones I did or really anything else you might like – other cheeses or other vegetables or herbs or even meats. Just cook them separately & stir them in once the risotto is done. SO EASY!
Baked Risotto with Caramelized Fennel & Onions with Roasted Cauliflower, Brie & Walnuts
1 cup Arborio rice
1/2 head cauliflower – broken into small florets
1 fennel bulb – sliced very thin (reserve the feathery tops to use as garnish)
1 small onion – sliced thin
10 garlic cloves
6 oz brie – cut into small cubes
1/2 cup walnuts – broken up
1 cup dry white wine
4 cups stock
Toss the cauliflower florets & 6 garlic cloves in a little olive oil & roast at 45o for about 30 minutes or until the cauliflower begins to brown.
Toast the walnuts in a dry pan for about 3 minutes being careful not to burn them. Set aside.
Heat 1-2 TBS olive oil in a saute pan. Cut the remaining garlic cloves in half & saute them with the sliced fennel & onion over medium heat. Stir frequently & saute this for 30-45 minutes or until the onions & fennel become a golden brown. Set aside.
Heat your oven to 350. Grease a casserole dish & add the Arborio rice, the wine & the stock (or 5 cups stock – if you don’t want to use wine). Bake – covered – for about 45 minutes. It should still look sorta soupy.
Chop the garlic you roasted with the cauliflower & add it to the hot risotto. Reserve a few cauliflower florets for garnish & just dump the rest along the brie, caramelized fennel & onions & stir until well blended.
Serve topped with a cauliflower floret, toasted walnuts & maybe some of the green tops to the fennel. Eat with abandon & feel way fatter immediately.
Alternatively – this is delicious with a very healthy dosing of crushed red pepper!