Fireworks Steak Butter & Mushroom Risotto

I have been making risotto a few times a year since 2005. The first time I made it I was a sweaty frazzled mess, trying to present the storied, Italian dish to a new group of friends in a tiny studio apartment overlooking Elliot Bay in Seattle. What I didn’t realize was that most risotto recipes call for near constant stirring. I wanted to eat well that evening but also socialize and take part in conversation. We ate well, although, nearly an hour later than expected. I had little interaction outside of the kitchen. It was a difficult night for me to say the least. But it certainly didn’t turn me off of making risotto again. I have been on a quest to find just-like risotto recipes that are faster and easier than that one in 2005. Flash forward to 2021 when we visited friends in Vail over Presidents Day weekend. They prepared an oven baked "risotto". At altitude no less. I was surprised to find that was really quite good. And not at all surprised that Ina Garten was the recipe author. Though she did give most of the credit to Australian cookbook author, Donna Hay for publishing the first bake, no stir method. 16 years after my first attempt at risotto I’ve finally perfected the risotto of my dreams, melding in different flavors here and there to make it my own. No constant stirring required! Photo credit: Julien Pianetti

Serves 4-6

This recipe can really be altered to suit whatever you have on hand. You could use the steak butter or chipotle butter here. Mushrooms or asparagus or peas or spinach...You name it.

1 ½ cups arborio rice

5 cups homemade chicken stock

1 cup freshly grated parmesan

½ cup dry white wine

3 tbs. Fireworks Steak Butter or Fireworks Chipotle Tomato Butter

2 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp freshly ground pepper

1 cup diced portobello mushrooms or chopped asparagus or frozen peas or spinach

2 Tbs chopped parsley for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Place the rice and 4 cups of the chicken stock in a Dutch oven, such as Le Creuset. Cover and bake for 45 minutes, until most of the liquid is absorbed and the rice is al dente. Remove from the oven, add the seasoned butter, remaining cup of chicken stock, mushrooms and/or vegetables, the Parmesan, wine, salt, and pepper, and stir vigorously for 2 to 3 minutes, over low heat on the stove until the rice is thick and creamy. If adding frozen peas, do them very last. Stir until heated through. Serve hot. Garnish with more butter, parmesan and parsley. Sizzle. Spread. Boom.