Oven baked risotto

A vegan "one-pot-wonder" from the oven.

Rice pudding sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon is a typical Christmas food in Finland. About a year ago I came across a recipe for oven baked rice pudding with coconut milk. I'm a big fan of the "one pot wonders", and the idea of turning the pudding into a savory dish like an oven baked risotto seemed like it could be something great.

I've experimented with using vegetables like cabbage, leeks, bell peppers and courgettes, adding chick peas or lentils, as well as using different spices like lime juice and chili paste. I have come up with a favourite combo, which is mushrooms and cauliflower.

Oven baked risotto with cauliflower and mushrooms

(Serves 3-4)

250 ml short grained white rice, like pudding rice or arborio rice
100 ml dried, soaked mushrooms, any kind (keep the soaking water)
1 onion
1 garlic clove
2 tomatoes (optional - they bring a nice tartness to the dish)
1 cauliflower head
1 tin of coconut milk (about 400ml) + 850 ml water or vegetable broth (1,2 l fluids)
1-2 tsp salt
Coarsely ground black pepper
(+  optional: add spices you like, chilli powder, liquid smoke, lime juice, soy sauce - make the broth strong!)

Soak the mushrooms in a bowl. Set oven to 175°C.

Measure the rice into a standard baking dish. Spread chopped onions, tomato wedges and mushrooms evenly over the rice. Crush the garlic clove by placing it under the blade of a knife and pressing, and toss it in. Break the washed cauliflower head into chunky florets. If the stem is large, chop it roughly and add it in. Place the florets to cover the whole dish.

Pour the coconut milk into a big measure (or measure it into a separate bowl), add the soaking water from the mushrooms and additional water, until you have measured 1,2 litres and mix in salt and black pepper. Taste, and keep in mind that you're giving flavour to a big portion, so be bold with spices. Slowly pour the coconut milk mixture over the cauliflower florets and the dish.

Let the risotto bake for 1,5 hours.


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