Baked Risotto with Caramelized Fennel & Onion with Roasted Cauliflower, Brie & Walnuts

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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!

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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

olive oil


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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Serve topped with a cauliflower floret, toasted walnuts & maybe some of the green tops to the fennel.  Eat with abandon & feel way fatter immediately.


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Alternatively – this is delicious with a very healthy dosing of crushed red pepper!

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