Ina Garten Prefers A Hands-Off Method For Cooking Risotto

Risotto is a food that requires a lot of TLC and upper arm strength. This rice-based dish, made with stock, wine, parmesan cheese, and lovely, fragrant ingredients like garlic, onions, and herbs is not something you make when you are short on time because it requires constant stirring. However, leave it to Ina Garten to share her preferred hands-off method for this Italian staple that might have you making your favorite risotto recipe a little more frequently. 

Garten makes an easy parmesan risotto with peas that eschews the stir and instead embraces baking the rice and stock in the oven. On Food Network's "Barefoot Contessa," Garten explains, "You know when people say they like to come home and make risotto and stir it, they find it relaxing? I think, 'No they don't. It's just annoying.'" Amen. This is what spurred the professional chef to try a different method which requires a Dutch oven and a timer. She says the results are "fantastic." 

Same ingredients, different process

Garten shares that when making her easy, no-fuss version, you still want to use arborio rice because it has the perfect amount of starch that is required to achieve the right consistency for risotto. She also uses homemade chicken stock, pouring all but a single cup into the pot before popping it into the oven for 45 minutes. Meanwhile, the cheese, wine, peas, and other herbs and seasonings aren't added until after the rice bakes.

This is when the stovetop comes back into play. Garten places the Dutch oven with the rice, baked until al dente, onto a burner before adding all the delicious ingredients that "make risotto, risotto." That said, there is still some stirring required, but just a concentrated two to three minutes rather than 25 to 30 minutes. The cookbook author says this is important because it will help the rice release the starch, creating that risotto creaminess we know and love. While Garten uses peas to finish the dish off, she notes that this recipe can be customized to create whatever flavors you love in your risotto.