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Baked Chicken, Lemon, and Pea Risotto
Nov 10th, 2004

Risotto you don't have to stir! This recipe comes from a cookbook called Off the Shelf: Cooking from the Pantry written by the Australian author Donna Hay. It's a gorgeous cookbook arranged in a very modern fashion with a lot of white space and beautiful food photography. And the recipes are good - which is always a plus.

As the title indicates, the book is based around stocking a pantry and then coming up with recipes and recipe variations that are based around the pantry goods you already have. The recipes all have short ingredient lists, but still manage to provide complex flavors and tastes. She is very partial to Thai flavors, so many of the recipes are Thai inspired, the rest seem to tilt Italian. The result is definitely not for the carb-fearing, as there are lots of rice and pasta recipes.

The first one that caught my eye was the following recipe for a baked risotto. You put everything into a casserole, and the only stirring necessary is at the very end when you add some herbs and flavorings. I liked this even better the next day when the flavors had been given some time to mingle - the lemon was a bit less assertive, and the mint a bit more so.


Baked Chicken, Lemon and Pea Risotto
Serves 4

2 tbsp olive oil
3 chicken breast fillets, quartered
2 leeks, sliced
1 tbsp shredded lemon zest
2 cups Arborio or carnaroli rice
5 cups chicken stock
1 cups frozen peas
2 tbsp lemon juice
cup finely grated parmesan cheese
2 tbsp chopped mint
cracked black pepper and sea salt


Preheat the oven to 400F. Heat a frying pan over high heat. Add the oil and chicken and cook for 3 minutes on each size or until well browned. Set aside.

Add the leeks and zest to the pan and cook for 5 minutes or until the leeks are golden. Place the leek mixture, rice and stock in a baking dish. Cover tightly with a lid or aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes. Add the chicken
and peas to the risotto, cover tightly and bake for a further 20 minutes. The risotto will be quite liquid.

Stir the lemon juice, parmesan, mint, pepper and salt through the risotto. Stir for 2 minutes to thicken the risotto and serve.

-Donna Hay, Off the Shelf: Cooking from the Pantry
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© 2006, Kimberly Cooperrider | kymmco@excite.com