Baked Lemon Risotto + A Trip to San Diego, CA

I was in San Diego, CA last week for the College on Problems of Drug Dependence annual meeting.  Though I definitely did a lot of work and networking at the actual conference, I was fortunate enough to do some sightseeing with friends.  Indulge me for a moment, if you will, as I show you some photos from the trip.

Our first stop was Torrey Pines State Beach.  It is so, so beautiful there.  We got to do some hiking, and then I got to see and splash around in the Pacific Ocean for the first time.  I definitely got to cross some stuff off of my bucket list on this trip.

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After Torrey Pines, we drove to La Jolla Cove (which also has some insanely beautiful views) where we got to see sea lions!  They were sunning themselves on the rocks, barking at each other, and occasionally flopping into the water.

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Another day, a few of us drove over the Coronado Bridge to, you guessed it, Coronado.  We ate some lunch, and then walked over to the beach and saw the historic Hotel del Coronado.  I did a little walking on the sand (and practically burned the bottoms of my feet in the process, it was so hot) and took a few more pictures of rocks and the beautiful beach.

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Such an amazing trip.  I can’t wait to go back with Sean for a proper vacation.  And just to prove that I did actually do some work, here’s a photo of me in front of my poster, presenting some findings from my dissertation work.

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Now, let’s get to the food (the real reason you’re here).  Making risotto on the stovetop isn’t all that difficult, but I made this when I was feeling particularly lazy one evening.  It’s perfect for those kinds of days.

Baked Lemon Risotto | A Nerd Cooks

I found this recipe on Joy the Baker’s website.  It serves 4-6.

You’ll need:

  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tbs lemon zest
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 2 cups Arborio rice
  • 32 oz. chicken broth
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • salt to taste
  • butter, for greasing pan
  • more cheese, lemon zest, and thyme leaves for topping

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Butter/spray a 9×13- inch baking dish and set aside.

In a medium skillet, heat oil over medium heat.  Add the onions and cook until translucent  (~5 minutes).  As the onions are finishing cooking, add lemon zest, thyme leaves, chili flakes, and black pepper.  Toss to heat through and set aside.

In a medium bowl, stir together uncooked rice, cheese, and the onion mixture.  Place this mixture in the prepared baking pan.  Pour chicken stock and water over the rice mixture.  Stir gently to ensure even cooking.

Place in the oven and allow to cook, uncovered, for 37-40 minutes, stirring after 20 minutes.  You’ll know that the rice is done when the liquid is absorbed and mixture is cooked through and creamy.  If the rice mixture is still crunchy (go ahead and taste a bit to see), add more hot water or hot chicken stock, about 1/3 cup at a time.  Just as an aside, it may just be my oven, but mine took closer to 50 minutes to finish cooking.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes before tasting.  Add salt, to taste.  Serve topped with lemon zest, fresh thyme, black pepper, and more cheese.

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