This oven-baked rice pilaf recipe is made with risotto instead of Basmati rice. The uncooked rice is sauteed with onion and butter, then baked in the oven with chicken broth instead of boiling water. This amazing recipe is an easy version of risotto, made with the same ingredients but a different cooking process. Its mild flavor and versatility make this rice recipe a quick side dish for dinner parties. It is quickly cooked in the oven for only 20 minutes and can be combined with almost any main dish to make a complete meal.
Rice is a very versatile ingredient, it can be made in many different ways, and it goes with everything, vegetables, meat, or seafood.
It is a perfect option for dinner parties, especially if you have celiac guests.
Everyone loves risotto, but it has to be stirred while cooking, so it is not practical for dinner parties as you don't want to be in the kitchen while your guests have arrived.
I have seen and heard so many non-stirring risotto options, like instant pot or pressure cooker, but they are not the same.
As you add the stock at once, it is practically boiled rice in stock.
Alternatively, I prefer to make this foolproof method and bake this risotto rice in the oven.
This easy baked rice recipe is made with risotto rice like Carnaroli or Aborio and uses the same ingredients onion, butter and chicken broth.
Follow the instructions strictly, including ingredients quantity, oven temperature, and baking time, and you will get perfect rice each time.
Although do not expect the same creamy risotto as the rice is baked in the oven, its grains remain firm with some texture.
- Carnaroli or Aborio rice: the type of rice is very important, do not substitute with long grain rice. It has a different cooking time and will absorb less water. Alternatively, you can use Spanish rice for paella
- homemade chicken stock: you can substitute with brown beef stock for extra flavor or vegetable stock for vegetarian version
- butter: you can substitute with olive oil, but the butter gives this dish a special flavor
- Diced onion
- freshly grated Parmesan is optional for serving
Hint: it is essential to keep the same ratio of rice vs stock to make sure that the end result is not too watery or too dry
- Stir fry the onion with the butter at very low heat; the onion should not burn.
- Once the onion becomes translucent, add the rice and increase the heat.
- The rice has to be toasted in butter to seal the grains. It will turn golden brown
- Place it into a covered larger baking dish or ceramic dish and add the warm stock
- Cook it covered in a hot oven at 430 F - 220 C for 20 minutes.
- Serve immediately by sprinkling fresh parsley and/or Parmesan cheese
Hint: the ratio of rice vs stock, baking temperature, and cook time is gauged for risotto rice. If you are using Basmati rice or wild rice the cooking time may change and you may have to reduce or increase the amount of stock a different kind of rice will absorb a different amount of liquid when cooking.
How to serve it
As I mentioned before, this baked rice can be served with almost anything.
If you serve it with the main dish with a nice sauce, the rice will give a nice texture without overpowering it with flavor.
When I made this video I served it with Daube Provencal
Why it is a perfect side dish
The uncooked rice is first toasted in butter with onion. Once the grains are toasted and sealed, they are cooked in the oven at a very high temperature and immersed in stock.
Because the grans are sealed, the rice doesn't absorb all the stock immediately so the grains will remain nicely firm.
You will have nice fluffy rice to combine with juicy main dishes like stews or casseroles.
If you want to make it creamier, mantecato, you can add some parmesan at the end.
- For this baked pilaf, I use Carnaroli or Arborio rice for risotto. You cannot use other types of rice as the cooking times will be different.
- Toast the rice in butter until it becomes slightly brownish
- You can toast the rice ahead of time and bake it just before serving it
- Use the exact quantities of rice vs. stock, baking time, and temperature; it will be perfect each time
- Use a baking dish with a tight fitting lid; otherwise, you can cover the baking pan with aluminum foil
- Store the leftover rice in a airtight container for up to 3 days in the fridge
Difference between pilaf and risotto
The difference between pilaf and risotto is in the cooking technique.
Pilaf, also known as "pilau" or "pulao", is a dish that originated in the Middle East and Central Asia. It is made by sautéing long-grain rice with various spices and often adding vegetables, meats or dried fruits before cooking it in broth or water. The rice is typically cooked until all the liquid is absorbed and the grains are fluffy and separate.
On the other hand, risotto is an Italian dish that originated in the northern region of Lombardy. It is made by toasting short-grain rice in butter or oil and then adding hot broth while stirring. This method creates a creamy texture and releases starch from the rice, giving it a rich and velvety consistency. Risotto is often finished with parmesan cheese, butter, and other ingredients such as mushrooms, seafood or vegetables.
This recipe is short grain rice cooked with the pilaf technique
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📋Easy Oven Baked Rice Pilaf Recipe (4 Ingredients)
- Stir fry the onion with the butter at very low heat, the onion should not burn.⅓ cup butter, 1 onion diced
- Once the onion becomes translucent, add the rice and increase the heat. The rice has to toast in the butter so that the grains are sealed.1 ½ cup Carnaroli rice
- Place it into a covered Pyrex or ceramic dish and add stock
- Cook it covered in a hot oven at 430 F - 220 C for 20 minutes.2 cup homemade stock
- When ready add the Parmesan, the rest of the butter and stir⅓ cup freshly grated Parmesan