For better or worse, risotto has garnered a bit of a bad rap. After all, while traditional recipes promise deliciously creamy, comforting results, they do require a bit of attention and greatly benefit from low-and-slow cooking. Food Network Magazine’s Broccoli-Cheddar Oven Risotto (pictured above), however, celebrates the texture and taste of the classic preparation but is made almost entirely in the oven in only 35 minutes, which means little hands-on time is entailed.
The secret to Food Network Magazine’s risotto is twofold: cooking the broccoli separately from the risotto and covering the rice with plenty of hot liquid before baking. After quickly sauteing onions in butter with the rice and wine, stir into the mixture a whopping 4 cups of broth, then transfer it to the oven to finish cooking. In a little while the rice will have absorbed the liquid and become tender, while creating the smooth, rich sauce for which it’s famous. It’s important to use Arborio rice instead of everyday brown or white rice, as the Italian variety has a high starch content, and it’s that starch released during cooking that will ultimately create the creamy consistency. Before serving, add sharp cheddar cheese and a splash of hot water to loosen the texture, then stir in the roasted broccoli to round out the meal. To maintain a wholly vegetarian meal, be sure to use vegetable broth in place of the chicken broth.