Moments (Baked Risotto w/ Peas)

Lately, it seems as if life has been trying to mess with my head.

Happy moments.

Sad moments.

Poignant moments.

Angry moments.

Processing them all is taking a little longer than I would like it to... (Maybe that is the result of having an "old" moment...)

These moments have challenged some of my long-held core beliefs about ideals and people.

In some instances, these paradigm shifts have been tough to swallow; in other cases, the re-alignment of the view has come as a pleasant surprise.

I know I'm nudging pretty darn close to the "40" mark, but there are some days when I still feel like I am growing up; but without the option of slamming my bedroom door and sulking.

There are times when I look at people far older than I am and think that maybe they need to do some growing up too - at which point, I wish I had the option of sending them to their room.

The "growing up" process must be a life-long journey. That's the only explanation I can come up with.

They definitely need time-outs for big people. (My children would most definitely be amused to hear me say that...)

Anyhoo, all of this means that I have been spending a lot of time thinking about what re-centers me when I fall off track:  

Taking the time to find the humor in the situation. 

Going for a run, a hike, a walk - anything to get fresh air in the brain.

Stopping whatever it is that is driving me crazy and doing something that I actually enjoy. (Why don't we do this more often?)

There are times when I think about curling up in a corner and making myself as small as possible; but I don't think that is highly effective - despite the momentary satisfaction it might bring.

Life is some pretty complicated stuff, isn't it?

It's good to know that not everything in life is complicated.

Some things can just be simple.

Like baked risotto.

Comfort food at it finest - all of the comfort of a cheesy rice dish, without all of the stirring and fussing.

Just what this girl needs on a cold, rainy day.

Oven Baked Risotto w/ Peas
Adapted from MarthaStewart.com


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3/4 cup Arborio rice

1/4 cup dry white wine, plus a glass for the cook
3 cups vegetable stock, simmering (plus an extra 1/2 - 1 cup, if needed)
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 cups fresh peas
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/4 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano
1 Tbs fresh chives, chopped

2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped


Preheat oven to 425F. In a large oven proof saute pan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and saute for 2-3 minutes. The onions will start to become translucent and may pick up a little color. Add the rice and stir to coat with oil - continue cooking for another minute.

Stir in the wine and cook until mostly evaporated (1-2 minutes). Stir in the vegetable stock, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Cover and place in the oven - bake for ~20-25 minutes until most of the liquid has absorbed and the rice has reached the desired tenderness. If you find that the rice is not quite tender enough, stir in another 1/2 cup or so of vegetable stock and return to the oven (covered) for another 5-7 minutes.

During the last five minutes of cooking, stir in the peas and return the dish to the oven to finish cooking.

Remove dish from oven. If needed, stir in another 1/2 cup or so of warm stock to bring the rice to a creamy consistency. Stir in the cheese and butter. Sprinkle with parsley and chives. Serve immediately.


  1. Baked risotto sounds perfect. No fuss like you said.

  2. This sounds like a great dish for the kind of weather we’ve been having! Rain…needed of course…but it’s been so cool and damp. The kind of day that makes you want to go into the kitchen and bake.
    I’m a lot older than you and I’m still growing! NIce post, Cher!

  3. I don't know of it's growing up or if one just keeps changing, you know? All in all, I haven't minded aging at all. I'm sure there's a point of diminishing returns (70's? 80's?), but for now, my 40's have been pretty good. Now if I could just figure out the mid-life career crisis .... :) P.S. about the rhubarb, it's true ... First time trying it.

  4. Such a great age--almost forty. That was the point in time when my mantra became: I make NO apologies. Things will begin to come into focus: trust me. It is quite liberating. I love risotto.

  5. I felt so relaxed and ready to head for my kitchen, bowls and spoons at hand, after reading your post! It's good to be back and reading my favorite blogs;-) I would love baked risotto for dinner tonight;-) I'm starting my FFWD bread project today, I really like this one-wish me luck.

  6. Wish I had this right now!!

  7. You know I've made risotto countless times, yet I've never baked it! I think the whole journey is a never ending series of battles. I'm sure spending time in the kitchen helps, I know it does me.

  8. Life can surely be complicated,I will be 34 this October and I can totally relate to the feeling that you are still growing up and wish you could slam the door and shut the world out
    I love risotto but have never baked it, this is a much easier way to make it as compared to standing by the pot for 30 minutes

  9. Every time I see a risotto recipe, I promise I will make it for the family soon...but I never do. I think an oven baked version is the answer for my mostly hectic evenings! This looks marvelous...and I find cooking very therapeutic, too :)

  10. Standing there stirring actually centers me. "Sorry honey, I can't [fill in the blank of whatever chore I'm supposed to be doing] right now, I'm stirring risotto!" I almost hate to give that up for a baked version but I know you are right. It makes this one easy and that is what confort should be.

    Growing up has got to be a process. Some days I feel so silly and childish and the next I feel like I have grown up too fast or I'm over doing it. In the middle is best. That was at 40. :)

  11. I've only made baked risotto once, but I loved the fact you can chuck it in the oven and walk away - much easier than standing next to the stove stirring the whole time!

    I'm only 29 and even now I can see that every age that I thought I was grown up and had it all figured out, I was wrong. I first had that feeling when I was about ten years old, I still feel it now and I suspect it never really goes away. I guess if it does then you've stopped learning new things, about yourself and about the world. Which might explain why there are some big kids out there that need a time out - they're probably stuck twenty years back!

  12. I just have to keep reminding myself that I have to learn it as I go along. Great looking risotto!

  13. I nominated you for an award :) http://redheadcuisine.blogspot.com/2012/05/versatile-blogger-award.html

    1. Thank you, Sara. That's very sweet :-)

  14. Cher, Okay, I've got this solved. Your 40s should be the best decade of your life. To make that possible, I would suggest that you choose a time to worry, fret, deal with crap, people problems, kids, whatever is stressing you. I think from 4pm to 6pm on Thursday evening would be a good time for you. So, when a negative vibe comes along, park it until those two hours and move along with your day. On Thursday at 4pm, re-visit those issues. You will find some of them solved, some of them lessened, and some, ot so bad. With the others, Deal. Then, go hike, run or bike. By the way, I hate peas.


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