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Risotto doesn’t have to be difficult to make! Throw this risotto cake–which is more like a creamy casserole–into the oven while you work on other things, like making a tossed salad or reading a good book. Oven-roasted tomatoes and sauteed onions add wonderful flavor to the dish, while a fair amount of mozzarella and Parmigiano-Reggiano truly act as the icing on the cake.
Risotto is everyone’s favorite Italian rice dish, but most think it’s too difficult and time-consuming to make. Instead of needing to be constantly stirred on the stove top for 30 minutes, this recipe is baked, which eliminates the hard work of making risotto. Nonna taught me this trick when we had our restaurant in Italy.
The arborio rice bakes to al dente but still has the creaminess of traditional risotto recipes. With the addition of tomatoes, caramelized onions, mozzarella, and panko breadcrumbs, you get creamy and crunchy in every bite. It is a great recipe to make for a dinner party, since you can prepare it in advance and pop it in the oven to bake when your guests arrive.
Creamy Risotto Cake with Tomato, Onion, & Mozzarella
- 2 cups arborio rice
- 4 large tomatoes cut in half lengthwise
- 1 large onion sliced
- 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
- 1/2 cup cubed mozzarella cheese
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 cup panko
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Butter a 9 x 12" baking pan and coat the bottom with the panko. Set aside.
- Arrange tomatoes on a large baking sheet, cut-side up. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. Transfer to the oven and roast for about 20 minutes. Set aside to cool.
- Decrease oven temperature to 375°F.
- In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, add the olive oil and sauté the sliced onion until soft and opaque, about 3 minutes.
- Add the roasted tomatoes, 1 teaspoon of salt, and the oregano and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
- Add the vegetable stock and rice and and stir for 2 minutes.
- Add salt and pepper to taste and remove from the heat.
- Ladle half of the mixture into the baking pan and top evenly with mozzarella cheese. Ladle the rest of the mixture over the cheese and top with the Parmigiano-Reggiano.
- Transfer to the oven and bake for 35 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed.
- Remove from oven and let rest for 15 minutes. Invert a serving platter over the baking pan and flip to transfer the cake. Remove the pan and serve.