Any proper chef probably wouldn’t consider this rice dish “risotto”, but in my honest opinion, it yields amazingly similar results without all of the labor. In its traditional form, risotto can be quite cumbersome to the home cook.
You need to have two separate pots going, one with simmering stock, and the other with your rice. You slowly add the stock one ladle at a time until it is totally absorbed before adding the next ladle. It has to be babysat and stirred constantly, and seriously…. who has time for that on a weeknight?
This amazing method from Ina Garten is my favorite and is so so so easy. It literally consists of putting the stock and rice together in a dutch oven and cooking it in the oven for 45 minutes, then add the rest of the flavorings at the end before serving.
It is so creamy and comforting, you will love it! The star flavor of this dish, however, is the roasted grapes. You may think that grapes with rice and chicken sound like an odd combination, but roasting the grapes brings out an unexpected flavor that pairs well with the subtlety of the rest of the dish.
This is definitely one to try if you’re wanting to step out of your comfort zone!
- 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
- 5 cups chicken stock, divided
- 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 1/4 lbs red or black grapes, removed from stems
- 2 TBSP olive oil, divided
- 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs
- salt and pepper to coat
- 1/4 cup balsamic glaze
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Place the rice and 4 cups of the chicken stock in a Dutch oven or other heavy pot with a tight lid over medium heat until just simmering.
- Cover and bake for 45 minutes, until most of the liquid is absorbed and the rice is al dente.
- Remove from the oven, add the remaining cup of chicken stock, the Parmesan, wine, butter, salt, and pepper, and stir vigorously for 2 to 3 minutes, until the rice is thick and creamy.
- Gently toss grapes, and 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large bowl to coat. Roast in the oven with the risotto for 30 minutes.
- Place a large skillet over medium-high heat with the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
- Generously salt and pepper chicken thighs on each side and sear, flipping halfway through until internal temp reaches 165 degrees.
- About 4 minutes before the chicken is finished, brush with the balsamic glaze and finish cooking.
- Top the risotto with slices of the chicken thigh and roasted grapes and serve warm.
I served my risotto bowls with a dollop of ricotta cheese on top and it really took it over the edge. I would suggest doing it if you have some in the house!