Oven Baked Spanish-style Risotto

Easy week night meals are a thing of beauty.  Planning ahead is the key to making life easier in the kitchen.  The key is to stick to a meal plan, otherwise certain chaos ensues (i.e. frantically trying to piece together a meal 'Ready Steady Cook' style with whatever's present in the fridge and pantry.  FYI, a tin of tuna, a can of cream of mushroom soup and a limp bunch of celery well past its prime cannot be turned into a family-friendly meal... well, at least not with my family).  If you're anything like me, you start off the year with the best of intentions.  You meticulously plan meals a month in advance, proudly displaying your organisational skills in the kitchen for all to see.  You then take note of what you're supposed to cook that week for dinner so you can pop into the shops to pick up all the ingredients you require to whip-up your pre-approved meals for the family.  After keeping up with this charade for a month or so, you slowly go back to your old ways, flying by the seat of your pants and making crunch decisions at the 11th hour on what to feed the family.  Cue certain chaos.    

Don't get me wrong.  I am probably one of the most organised people you will ever meet, however no matter how many times I try to plan ahead, my rather disorganised family throw a spanner in the works every single time.  The kids will complain about eating a particular meal that night for dinner, even after originally asking for it, as they just don't feel like lasagne tonight.  Even my husband, who is normally happy with whatever I cook, suddenly becomes nervous if the spontaneity is taken away from his weeknight meals.  It seems he lives for the whole 'Ready Steady Cook' vibe.  So as much as I try to plan in advance, it seems my family like to throw caution to the wind and decide to eat whatever takes their fancy that particular day.  Lucky me.

If I had to come up with something positive from the whole experience, it would be how its helped make me a more resourceful cook.  I'm able to whip-up a meal from whatever's at hand, although I always make sure I have more than a tin of tuna in the cupboard, and  a bunch of celery in the fridge, for obvious reasons.  This risotto is one of those meals I came up with after a busy day at work when I had no idea what to make for dinner.  We all love risotto, however I'm a little tired making the kids' favourite, chicken and asparagus, every single time.  I love the rich flavours of the Mediterranean, so this recipe combines the flavours of a Spanish Paella, but with the simplicity of a risotto.  Yes, you heard me correctly - a simple risotto!  The best part about this dish is that it cooks in the oven without requiring you to work up a sweat stirring it constantly.  After popping it in the oven, you can sit back and relax with a glass of wine until it's ready.  This dish also earns extra bonus points as you're able to cook it in one pot, thereby sparing you from unnecessary washing-up so you have even more time to relax afterwards and enjoy more wine.  Winner!  

2 large chicken breast fillets, trimmed and cut into cubes
1 chorizo sausage, thinly sliced
1 brown onion, roughly diced
3 cloves garlic
1 red capsicum, diced
Zest of one lemon, then cut the lemon into 4 wedges and set aside
250g Aborio rice
100ml dry white wine
750ml chicken stock liquid
400ml tin crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
3/4 cup frozen peas
Extra virgin olive oil
sea salt flakes
freshly ground black pepper
Small handful Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped

Pre-heat the oven to 180C fan-forced.

In a heavy-based ovenproof saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over high heat.

Add the sliced chorizo and cook until almost crispy. Remove and set aside in a bowl.

Add the diced chicken breast to the saucepan and cook thoroughly.  Whilst cooking the chicken, crush one clove of garlic into the saucepan and season the chicken with salt and freshly ground black pepper (to taste).

Once the chicken has started to colour (golden), remove from the saucepan and add to the bowl containing the chorizo. Set aside.

Add another tablespoon of olive oil to the saucepan. Reduce the heat to moderate-high.

Add the diced onion to the saucepan and sauté it for 5 minutes, or until soft.

Crush the remaining two cloves of garlic over the onion, add the grated lemon zest and cook for 30 seconds until fragrant.

Add the red capsicum to the saucepan and cook for a further minute.

Add the Aborio rice and stir to combine with the other ingredients and to ensure each grain is coated in oil.

Add the dry white wine and continue to cook for another minute.

Add the chicken stock liquid, the tin of crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, paprika and turmeric powders, mix well and bring the liquid to the boil.

Once the liquid has begun to boil, stir well, making sure no rice is sticking to the bottom of the saucepan, then cover it with a lid and place the saucepan into the oven to cook for 15 minutes.

After 15 minutes, carefully remove the saucepan from the oven and stir-in the cooked chicken and chorizo, and the frozen peas, then cover with a lid and place back into the oven to cook for a further 5 minutes.

Once the risotto is ready, remove the saucepan from the oven and stir the rice. Check it for seasoning and add more to taste, if required.

Stir-in the chopped Italian parsley.

Serve in bowls with a wedge of lemon on the side. Squeeze the lemon juice over the risotto just before eating.

Note: You can substitute chorizo sausage for bacon or speck instead.


  1. I am SO trying this! Although I do love stirring a risotto with glass of wine in hand, this has more sit-down appeal. Thanks for sharing. #lovemenuplanningtoo :-D

    1. Haha! It's a cook's treat really! I always have a glass of wine in hand when cooking Italian, it makes it more authentic! XD Please let me know how you go with the recipe as I'd like to know what you thought of it xx