Creamy and comforting, this risotto bake is the ultimate rice dish. The mouthwatering twist on the classic boasts rich flavors and a cheesy, bubbly top.
Aside from the fact that it requires a bit of effort, I can’t get enough risotto. The classic Italian dish that consists of arborio rice cooked in broth until creamy always delivers. This risotto bake has all the savory flavors you expect from a good risotto and a comforting porridge-like consistency enhanced by a layer of melty cheese. Add-ins are common with risotto, and this recipe keeps it simple with shaved Brussels sprouts. They’re slightly earthy and bitter, contrasting nicely with the other flavors.
Why You’ll Love This Risotto Bake
One pot – Anything that requires minimal dishes is golden in my book. Select a pot with high sides that is oven-safe to avoid hiccups during the process. That way, you can easily go from stovetop to oven to table.
Risotto with a little more texture – Risotto is fantastic, but sometimes it verges on too creamy. A little time in the oven resolves that by adding a bit more texture.
Versatile – Enjoy it as a comforting side dish or transform it into a hearty main course by adding protein. This risotto bake is a versatile addition to your weekly rotation.
Simple ingredients – The only thing you may have to buy is arborio rice. Other than that, you’re good to go. I love recipes that call for a simple and short list of ingredients because that also minimizes the number of dishes required, such as measuring cups and spoons.
Risotto Bake Ingredients Notes
To make this risotto bake, you’ll need:
- Rice: Specifically, arborio rice is required. Arborio rice is an Italian short-grain rice. It is necessary for risotto due to its high starch content. That starch content is what creates the creamy texture characteristic of risotto dishes.
- Broth: I used chicken broth here, but vegetable broth is also fine. The broth used for cooking is one of the ingredients that primarily flavor the dish; therefore, select a flavorful, high-quality one. If using store-bought, you can infuse it with aromatics, then strain the broth before starting the risotto for a flavor boost.
- Cheese: Mozzarella cheese adds a balanced milky flavor to the risotto bake. Although you want to use low-moisture mozzarella cheese, use a block and grate it yourself instead of the bagged mozzarella since it’s coated in an anticaking agent to prevent clumping. That anticaking agent can ruin the texture of the risotto by making it too thick and ultimately dry.
- Brussels sprouts: Only use fresh. Frozen will add far too much moisture, and you’ll lose out on the tender-crisp texture.
Find the complete ingredients list with amounts in the recipe card below.
How to Make This Risotto Bake
- Saute the aromatics: In this case, it’s just onion. Heat the oil, toss the onion in, and saute until golden brown. Although simple, diced onion will impart a lovely flavor and aroma throughout the dish.
- Lightly toast the rice: Add the dry rice to the pot and leave over heat for 2-3 minutes as you occasionally stir. Lightly toasting the grains enhances their nuttiness, resulting in a risotto bake with a greater depth of flavor.
- Here comes the broth: Slowly add the broth one cup at a time as you stir, waiting for the rice to absorb the broth before adding more. This will take anywhere from 35-40 minutes, so patience is key as this slowly coaxes the starch out of the rice to achieve risotto’s signature creaminess.
- Cheese it up: Stir in half the grated cheese, follow with the brussels sprouts, then sprinkle any remaining cheese on top in an even layer.
- Bake: Remove from the oven once the top is golden and bubbly.
Variations, Substitutions, and Cooking Tips
Do not wash the rice – This is one of the few rice dishes where you want all the starch; therefore, never rinse arborio rice for risotto. If you do, all that helpful starch goes down the drain instead of contributing to the dish’s creaminess.
Keep stirring – Don’t stir vigorously, but it is essential to keep risotto moving because the movement activates/releases the starch, prevents lumps, and ensures that the rice doesn’t burn at the bottom.
Add garlic – A minced clove or two will add flavor to the risotto bake and pair well with the onion.
Herbs are lovely – Chopped fresh herbs will instantly enhance this risotto bake. Parsley works well, as does oregano and basil.
Wine is wonderful – Wine adds flavor and acidity to risotto. Add a generous splash after toasting the rice just before adding the broth.
Add butter – You can use a combination of butter and olive oil to sauté the aromatics or stir the butter in with the cheese.
- 1 1.2 cup arborio rice
- 5 cups chicken broth
- 3 cups grated mozzarella cheese
- 1 cup shredded Brussels Sprouts
- Add the olive oil to your pan (make sure it has a high lip) and then the diced onion.
- Cook until golden brown then add the arborio and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
- Add 1 cup of the chicken broth at a time and bring to a simmer then stir with a wooden spoon until the liquid is almost completely absorbed.
- Once you've added all 5 cups of broth and almost all of the liquid is completely absorbed, remove from the heat (this should take about 35-40 min).
- Stir in half of the grated cheese, and the Brussels sprouts then sprinkle with the remaining cheese.
- Bake for about 15 minutes or until the cheese has completely melted and is golden.
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