I’m yet to come across a child who won’t eat this. Baking risotto is an easy and fast way to make a quick and filling dinner, and there are many ways you could vary it. It won’t give you the delicious creamy runniness of proper risotto, but what it lacks in authenticity it makes up for in the convenience department, as you don’t have to stand at the stove stirring it for 20 minutes.
Use free range or organic chicken and organic pumpkin if you can – the flavours will be better.
This will make enough for 4 adult serves.
- 4 free range chicken thigh fillets, or 2 chicken breast fillets
- 2 cups Arborio rice
- 2 cups peeled, diced organic pumpkin, about 5cm cubes (if the pumpkin is cut too big it won’t cook properly)
- 2 cloves of garlic, diced
- 1 fresh bay leaf
- 600 ml chicken or veg stock
- Handful of basil leaves, torn
- 1 tablespoon of butter
- ½ cup parmesan cheese, grated
Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
Season the chicken fillets with a little salt and pepper and rub with some olive oil, place on a baking tray and bake for 15 – 20 minutes, turning once. When cooked, remove the chicken and when cool, chop into bite size pieces, setting aside.
Reduce the oven temperature to 180 degrees.
Place the rice, garlic, bay leaf, and uncooked pumpkin in a baking dish and cover with most of the stock – reserve about 100 ml. Dot with butter, season with salt and pepper and cover the dish with a lid or foil. Bake in the oven for 35 minutes – checking at around the 25 minute mark to add the remaining stock if its drying a little, and carefully stirring things around.
When cooked (pumpkin will be soft and rice cooked through), remove and stir in the basil, chicken and parmesan cheese. Mix through and serve with a little extra grated parmesan on top.
I also like to serve this with some sage leaves on the top that have been browned in a little butter, or on the baking tray with the chicken.