Risotto. Seriously??! I mean who has time for that? not me in it's traditional sense- but this baked one? It's basically hands off! So scrap the saucepan and go for the oven for making a fabulous risotto the kids will love! This baked tomato and mini meatball risotto is the perfect weeknight dinner...or use it for a dinner party with the comment..."I just threw it together!".
So risotto has been a favourite dish of mine for a million years...well, not really a million, but you get what I mean! It's always been a favourite. And I love meatballs...so this dish is the perfect combination for me!
You know what though, meatballs are also kid heaven and you don't have to put them in the risotto! They are also super yummy in a sandwich or on a skewer with bocconcini and cherry tomatoes. The best thing about this risotto is you literally just use an oven tray and an oven proof dish with lid for cooking in.
If you haven't got a baking dish with a lid like the one in the picture (it's a le creuset 30cm buffet casserole dish) then use a ceramic dish and put foil over the top as a lid!
Bring dinner to the table and let everyone help themselves. It's the way we do things at my place. I feel like it helps the kids to get comfortable with food. Something like this risotto can be a bridge too far for some kids as it has a lot of textures and different tastes in one dish. The meatballs are borderline crunchy, the rice is moist (eew! I hate that word!), the tomatoes are squidgy. By letting the kids pick and choose what ends up in their bowl, you are giving back some of the control and they might surprise you!
Want more of this risotto recipe? Here are some of the recipes I made:
Baked tomato and mini meatball risotto
- 500 grams beef mince
- ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon oregano leaves
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 clove garlic
- 400 grams cherry tomatoes
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 400 mls passata
- 1.5 cups arborio rice
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 brown onion finely diced
- 1 zucchini cubed
- 1 bunch broccolini stems chopped (tops kept aside)
- 20 grams butter
- ½ cup parmesan cheese grated
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
- In a large ovenproof casserole dish with a lid, place the diced onion, chicken stock, passata and olive oil and rice.
- Bake at 180 degrees with the lid on for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a bowl combine the mince, parmesan cheese, olive oil and oregano.
- Roll into teaspoon sized meatballs and place on an oven tray. Bake for 20 minutes at 180 degrees.
- Halve the cherry tomatoes. When the meatballs have cooked for 10 minutes, add the cherry tomatoes to the tray and bake 10 minutes more. Remove both from the oven.
- Take the rice mix from the oven, add the broccolini stems and zucchini. Stir through.
- Return to the oven and bake 20 minutes more.
- Uncover and add ½ cup parmesan, butter and the tops of the broccolini stir through then bake uncovered 5 minutes more.
- Add the tomatoes and meatballs to the cooked rice dish and stir through. Serve hot with extra parmesan cheese.