Baked risotto is a rice-based dish made popular in Italian cuisine. The dish may be prepared in various ways, but one of the most common forms is oven-baked risotto. In addition to rice, a typical baked risotto consists of a vegetable broth, fish or other meats, and various spices and flavorings. While it is often served as an appetizer or first course, it may be served alongside a main course.
Rice is the centerpiece of the baked risotto. Certain types of rice are generally needed for risotto. Namely, high starch, short-grain rices are the variety of choice for most cooks. Examples include Arborio, Padono, and Roma.
The basic makeup of a risotto is rice made creamy by being cooked in a broth or liquid mixture. This mixture may consist of vegetables, fish, or other meats. Cheese and butter constitute the other primary ingredients in a typical risotto, baked or otherwise. Spices and flavorings like sage, parsley, and wine may also be needed.
Various vegetables are typically prepared with a risotto. Common additives include mushrooms, carrots, and onions. These ingredients are usually cooked and prepared on a skillet before being added to the main dish. In general, the additional vegetables are cooked on the stove's burner first for a few minutes, and then spices are added. A skillet or frying pan may be used for this purpose.
Much of the risotto must be prepared on top of the stove in a saucepan or oven-ready pot. Fish or other meats are prepared in oil before being stirred into the rice. Wine may be added for additional flavor and to aid in the cooking and coating process. Following these preparations, broth, butter, and cheese are stirred into the mixture.
Rice dishes are often prepared in special bowls called ramekins. These bowls are made of glass or ceramic and have a circular shape. They are notable for their ability to resist elevated temperature and may thus be placed in an oven for baking. When making a risotto, the bowl is typically buttered first. Prepared vegetables are then layered between the rice mixture in the bowl before the food is placed in the oven for baking.
Cooks often prefer baked risotto because cooking time is reduced. In some recipes, total cooking time may only total around half an hour. One possible drawback, however, is that many baked risotto recipes lack the flavor and texture of a traditionally cooked risotto.