I’ve got to be honest. I’m a little drained from the holidays. Too much to do, too much shopping, too much shovelling and too much illness (did everyone catch the flu?). That and I’m tired of it being dark so early at night and dark when I wake up in the morning. I’ve got the January blues. This weather, and this feeling, calls for some Italian soul cooking. The good filling stuff that keeps you warm and is easy to throw in the oven. That means last weekend, I threw together some baked risotto for dinner.
This baked risotto recipe is a specialty from my grandfather and my aunt. Cheesy and gooey on the inside, crispy on the top and sides (that’s a requirement), this is winter comfort food at its best. If you have some sauce to use up, it’s a great alternative to pasta. And the leftovers, crisped up even more in the toaster oven, are great the next day.
Baked Risotto with Peas
4 cups cooked abrorio or short grain rice
2 cups meat sauce (ground beef or shredded pork and beef are great options)
1/2 cup of water
1/2 cup parmigiano cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, divided (add more if you love cheese!)
1/3 cup fresh or frozen peas
Whenever the first snow falls, I am reminded of my grandfather. Clean fresh snow layering the backyard and roofs, whatever is left in the garden (if there is a tomato stalk or two) and lining the patio stones making them look gleaming white. It’s usually a surprise from overnight, but early fresh snows meant a special treat that I haven’t made, and don’t know if I will make, in years.