Oven-cooked Vegetarian Risotto with Baked Eggs and Walnuts

“Don’t have time for lids”

I remember an occasion in the college restaurant kitchen where a fellow student asked the tutor where the lids were and he replied, “just use another pot. Don’t have time for lids in a kitchen.” For as halfheartedly as he said that, its definitely been a recurring theme in the kitchens I’ve been in.

Since the eggs can only be added when the risotto starts to hold its shape, I needed to be able to cook the eggs while maintaining the moisture so that the top layer of rice would not dry up. Hence I wanted to use a sturdier lid than tin foil and you’ll see later the resulting improvisation.

The recipe itself was inspired from seeing the poached eggs in a Shakshuka and so I figured that since a risotto features a lot of liquid in its cooking process then a similar result could be achieved. With the protein from the eggs I thought this would be a good opportunity for a vegetarian dish boosted further by the superfoods of spinach and walnuts. The walnuts not only add much needed texture in the risotto but was also a good way to use up the leftovers from my previous cupcake recipe.

1-risotto-ingredients

Besides stock and rice there really isn’t any limitations to what you can have. Its one of those convenient one-pot recipes that can be made up with limited time and ingredients.

The base of the recipe is simple and be used as a template for your own baked risotto recipe; sweat onions, add/cook rice for a minute then simmer with the stock.

Now this is what reminded me of my introduction. I needed heat to be retained to cook the eggs while also keeping moisture in the risotto. I was about to use a less than aesthetically pleasing baking tray but thankfully the bottom of my cake tin fit rather snugly.

The cooking time of the vegetables you pick will determine when to add your vegetables so in the case of spinach and peas in this recipe, I added them as late as possible which would be when the eggs are added. It can be tricky to make the craters to hold the eggs because the risotto will still have a lot of stock but propping the walls with a wooden spoon certainly helped.

9-finish-1

11-egg-open

After the risotto has finished cooking, there are many various toppings you can have such as the Parmesan and walnuts I used here but I’ve even been in a restaurant where their risotto was topped with popcorn. Be creative and make this suit you.

Ingredients                                                                             Costings

  • 1 Tbls Oil
  • 1 White Onion  – Diced                                                       £0.16
  • 250g Arborio Rice                                                                 £0.55
  • 700ml Vegetable Stock                                                        £0.50
  • 50g Spinach                                                                           £0.38
  • 110g Frozen Peas                                                                  £0.15
  • 3 Medium Free Range Eggs                                                £0.45
  • 50g Walnut pieces – cut to preferred size                       £0.60

Total Cost for 3 Servings~ £2.79

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180C.
  2. Sweat the onions with the oil in an ovenproof pot.
  3. Add the rice and cook for 1 minute. Add the vegetable stock and bring to a simmer.
  4. Place an ovenproof lid on top and place in the oven for 12 minutes.
  5. Remove from the oven and stir in the spinach and peas. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Make 3 craters and crack an egg into each. Return to the oven for 15-18 minutes until the egg white is cooked.
  7. Top with the walnuts and serve.
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