I didn’t think I would enjoy making this as much as I did. When it comes to cooking, I’m really into the “under 30 minutes and less than 5 steps” category. Once you start adding in multiple processes and using scary words like “bechamel,” I begin slowly backing away. I mean, do you realize that multiple sauces and mixtures means more dishes to clean? Haven’t you people heard of one pot wonders? Why can’t every recipe read, “Add all ingredients to bowl. Stir. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.”*
*note to self – great idea for a cookbook
However, when I saw this dish on Giada’s show, it seemed too delicious to pass up. But I was shocked at how easy this was to prepare. And it included a lot of stirring, which if you’ve had a stressful week can be very relaxing, in a hippie, zen-like sort of way. Let’s break it down.
First, you’re going to mix together the rice, some jarred marinara sauce and a little water. Then just cook it for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. See? Not scary at all.
Next, the bechamel – not as scary as it sounds. A little butter, some flour, and stirring. Add milk, and then…stir! Stop when it’s thick.
Now we get to add everything together in a bowl! It’s my favorite part.
Okay, Giada had this whole process of putting the rice mixture in a springform pan that was lined with aluminum foil and blah, blah, blah. Instead, I poured this into a pie plate and called it a day. So much easier and it still tasted great.
The only thing I didn’t like about this recipe was that I didn’t start making it until Chase and I were hungry and it takes over an hour once you include the baking time, so ye be not so stupid. By the time it was finished I had barely snapped off a couple of photos before we were arguing over who got to eat the last piece. And yes, we really did eat the entire thing in one sitting. People – this is rice baked in a heavenly, creamy sauce and then covered in cheese. You will want multiple servings. Recipe note – I made only half of the recipe, but this was clearly a mistake. The full amounts are listed below.
Baked Tomato Risotto
Adapted from Giada De Laurentiis
1 cup Arborio rice
2 cups marinara sauce
1/2 cup water
Combine rice, marinara sauce and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer for 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cup whole milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg
Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk until smooth, about 1 – 2 minutes. Whisk in the milk, salt and nutmeg, stirring constantly to prevent lumps. Continue whisking until the sauce is thick and smooth, about 5 – 6 minutes. Remove from heat.
1/2 cup + 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup frozen peas
4 large eggs, beaten and at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Grease a deep 9″ pie plate and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the rice mixture, Bechamel sauce, peas, and 1/2 cup Parmesan. Slowly mix in the eggs (make sure the mixture has cooled completely so the eggs don’t scramble), salt and pepper. Pour into the greased pie plate and cover with foil. Place the pie plate in a shallow roasting pan and fill the pan halfway with water. Bake for 1 hour.
Remove the risotto and preheat the broiler. Remove foil and sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese. Broil for about 2 minutes, or until the cheese has browned on top. Take the pie plate from the roasting pan and allow to cool for 15 minutes. Cut into slices and serve.