Oven Baked “Risotto”

This quick and easy “risotto” recipe from Barefoot Contessa was surprisingly good.  It’s a great side dish to any meal or could be a filling meal on its own.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
  • 5 cups chicken stock, simmering
  • 1 cup powdered Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (one you would drink)
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter, diced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 cup frozen peas

HOW TO MAKE IT

  • Place the rice and 4 cups of the simmering stock in a medium dutch oven (i.e. Le Creuset)
  • Cover and bake at 350°F for 45 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed and the rice is cooked al dente
  • Remove from the oven and add in the last cup of chicken stock, wine, Parmesan cheese, butter, salt and pepper and stir continuously for 2-3 minutes until everything is well combined
  • Lastly, add in the peas and stir until the peas are heated through

Fresh Tomato and Pesto Pasta

This pasta dish is simple, yet really delicious.  It’s a great as a side option for Baked Shrimp Scampi or as a quick dinner on its own.  

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 lb. thin linguini or angel hair
  • 3/4 cup pesto sauce
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1/2 – 1 cup powdered parmesan cheese, and more for topping

HOW TO MAKE IT

  • In a large saute pan, saute the garlic with 1 tbsp olive oil until it’s fragrant
  • Add the pesto sauce to the garlic combine well
  • Pour in the white wine, chicken broth and olive oil and bring to a simmer
  • Add in the chopped tomatoes and stir well over medium-low heat
  • Cook the pasta as directed and then add it into the pesto sauce mixture
  • Keep the heat on medium-low and and cook the pasta in the sauce so it absorbs the flavor
    • If the pasta seems a bit dry, add in more chicken broth or olive oil
  • Once the pasta is well coated in the pesto sauce, turn off the heat and pour in the powdered parmesan (as much or as little as you desire)
  • Top it all off with a little more parmesan and serve immediately!

Baked Shrimp Scampi

I watched Ina Garten make this dish on her show a few weeks ago and was dying to try it out.  Let’s just say, it did not disappoint.  This dish kind of blows baked stuffed shrimp out of the water – it’s full of so much flavor and is really easy to put together.  I made some small adjustments and it tasted like perfection.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 lb. large shrimp (U8-12), deveined with the tails still on
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp dry white wine
TOPPING
    • 8 tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
    • 4 tsp minced garlic (4 cloves)
    • 1/4 cup shallots, finely chopped
    • 3 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
    • 1 tsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
    • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1/4 tsp pepper
    • 1 tsp grated lemon zest
    • 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
    • 1 extra large yolk
    • 1 cup panko

HOW TO MAKE IT

  • Butterfly the shrimp but leave the tails on
  • Place the shrimp in a mixing bowl and combine with the olive oil, white wine, 1 1/2 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper – let the shrimp sit and marinate at room temperature while you prepare the topping
  • In a small bowl, mash the softened butter together with the garlic, shallots, parsley, rosemary, red pepper flakes, lemon zest and juice, egg yolk, panko and 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper
  • Arrange the shrimp in one layer, cut side down around the edge of a 14 inch oval gratin dish, you want the tails curling up facing in towards the middle of the dish – pour the remaining marinade over the shrimp
  • Spread the topping evenly over the shrimp
  • Bake at 425°F for 12-15 minutes or until its hot and bubbly and the shrimp is totally pink – you can broil it for a minute or so to brown the top if it’s not crunchy enough

Baked Stuffed Shrimp

Rumor has it (i.e. my mother thinks) that this is the Twin Oaks recipe for baked stuffed shrimp.  Whosever recipe this is has done something right, because it’s delicious.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 lb. large shrimp (U8-12), deveined with the tails still on
  • 1/2 cup plain breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup Ritz crackers, crushed
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed
  • 1 small onion, very finely chopped
  • 2 tsp white wine
  • Optional: 1/8 cup (2 tbsp) parmesan cheese, powdered
  • Optional: 1 tsp fresh parsley, chopped

HOW TO MAKE IT

  • Melt the butter over medium-high heat in a saute pan – add in the chopped onion and cook until translucent, then add in the garlic and white wine and cook until the garlic is fragrant, but not burned
  • Add in the breadcrumbs and crushed Ritz crackers and combine well
  • If you want to add in the parmesan cheese and/or fresh parsley, do so now and stir well
  • Using a spoon, stuff the split side of the shrimp with as much stuffing as it will hold
  • Line the shrimp up with the tail upright and the un-split side down in a baking dish with high sides and bake at 375°F for approximately 20 minutes or until the shrimp is cooked and the stuffing is browned on top

Wild Mushroom Risotto

This creamy risotto is full of so much depth and flavor… and making this dish is not as “hard” as it’s cracked up to be.  It’s totally a meal on it’s own, or great in a small dose as a tasty side.

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 cloves of garlic, whole but smashed with the heel of your hand
  • 3 shallots, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup chives, chopped
  • 1  1/2 cups Arborio rice
  • 1/2 lb. various mushrooms (I usually use a mix of 2 different kinds – you can use whatever you like: cremini, oyster, shitake, baby portabella), cleaned and sliced
  • 1 oz. dried porcini mushrooms
    • 2 cups of boiling hot water to rehydrate them
  • 1/2 cup powdered Parmesan cheese
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (one you would drink)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 6 tbsp butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste

HOW TO MAKE IT

  • Soak the dried porcini mushrooms in 2 cups of boiling water and set aside for 30 minutes
    • After 30 minutes, remove the porcini mushrooms and puree them in a food processor – set aside
    • Pour the remaining water (mushroom stock) through a coffee filter or paper towel – sediment and sand will have settled on the bottom and you don’t want to eat that; put the mushroom stock on reserve, if it’s not quite 2 cups anymore add water to make it 2 cups
  • Pour 4 cups of chicken stock plus the 2 cups of mushroom stock into a small pot and bring to a simmer
  • Heat the olive oil in a medium heavy bottomed pot and add in the 3 cloves of garlic
  • Saute the garlic until it’s very fragrant and beginning to brown, then remove
  • Add the mushrooms and 3 tbsp of butter into the flavored oil, saute until the mushrooms are tender – about 5 minutes, then set aside in a separate bowl
  • Add the chopped shallots into the pot you used for the mushrooms and saute with the remaining 3 tbsp of butter for about 5 minutes
  • Add the cooked mushrooms (and all the liquid) to the shallots and then add in the rice – mix well coating the rice thoroughly
  • Pour in the white wine and cook for about 2 minutes
  • Add in 2 ladles of the chicken/mushroom stock to the mixture and season with salt and pepper – stir and simmer over low heat for 5-10 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed
  • Mix in a heaping tbsp of the porcini mushroom puree
  • Keep adding in 2 ladles of the chicken/mushroom stock at a time, stirring every few minutes – add in a heaping tbsp of the pureed porcini mushrooms each time as well
  • Continue until the rice is cooked through – you want it to be tender but ‘al dente’ and not mushy
  • This whole process should take about 25-30 minutes and you will use all of the liquid
  • When it’s done, the risotto will be creamy and thick, but not at all dry
  • Off the heat, pour in the Parmesan cheese and mix well
  • Lastly, add in the chopped chives and stir