Once I knew how I was preparing the halibut, I thought that a light lemon risotto with fresh oregano would balance the meal.
Risotto is an Italian dish that features arborio rice: a short grain, high starch rice that is cooked very slowly in stock. It requires constant stirring. When it’s done, you add Parmesan cheese, unsalted butter and vegetables, or anything else you desire.
For me, this is adult baby food. It’s rich, comforting and luscious. Warning: This is a major carb hit!
I find the time I spend at the stove slowly ladling in the broth relaxing and almost meditative. Unfortunately, the morning of this dinner, several of my cooktop burners decided to stop working. So I switched to an oven baked risotto. You’ll get a different result that the slowly stirred cooktop version but it’s still yummy. The individual grains of rice are softer but no one seemed to mind.
It also made the food preparation even easier. I baked the risotto at the same time I roasted the cauliflower. How’s that for efficient?
If you make this, don’t substitute dried oregano. Use fresh oregano, it’s easy to find in any market and easier to grow in a pot in your herb garden. That’s what I do. So I can make this anytime.
BAKED RISOTTO WITH LEMON AND FRESH OREGANO
EVENT: Out-of-Town Company
SERVES: 4-6 People
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
3 shallots, minced (1/2 cup)
1 cup arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano
2 cups chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon fresh pepper
1 ½ teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
Additional lemon zest
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2. In a medium saucepan, heat the butter and oil over medium heat until butter is melted.
3. Add the shallots and cook approximately 4 minutes until they are translucent.
4. Add the rice and stir, making sure all the grains are thoroughly coated.
5. Add the white wine and the fresh oregano and continue cooking until the wine is absorbed, approximately 3-5 minutes.
6. Add the chicken stock, salt and pepper.
7. Cover the saucepan and transfer to the oven.
8. Bake until stock is absorbed and rice is tender, approximately 25 minutes.
9. Carefully uncover the saucepan. Add the lemon zest, butter and Parmesan cheese. Toss gently and bake uncovered a few minutes until the butter is melted.
10. Garnish with fresh oregano and additional lemon zest. Serve immediately.