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Baked Chicken Risotto

By 9:11 AM , , , , ,

It's been a hectic summer to say the least, with a new baby and quite a bit of travel.  But the Husband and I are back and excited to be cooking (and baking!) again.

This recipe was one of the last in the September 2011 issue of Southern Living and sounded delicious to me. Artichokes and zucchini, in a risotto? Yes please! What a great way to get in 2 servings of vegetables.

This hearty risotto was fantastic - and better yet, so much easier and less hands on than your typical risotto. Lemon is always great paired with artichokes, and this instance is no different.  The zucchini is added at the end, which allows them to keep some crunch and offers a wonderful contrast to the creaminess of the rice. 

A few notes:

2 good sized chicken breasts yielded me the 3 cups of chopped chicken the recipe calls for.  It would also be fine to shred the chicken instead of chopping it.  I baked my chicken breasts in the oven at 375 degrees after drizzling them with olive oil and sprinkling them with Trader Joe's Lemon Pepper blend.

The original recipe called for parsley, which I omitted. I also increased the amount of fresh ground pepper. I used minced garlic in place of pressed garlic cloves. Lastly, though I did not add crushed red pepper flakes this time, but I most definitely will mix them in the next time I make this for a touch of heat.

Baked Chicken Risotto

3 tablespoons butter
1 cup minced sweet onion
 teaspoons freshly minced garlic 
1 cup Arborio rice (short-grain)
1/4 cup dry white wine
4 cups chicken broth
1 (14-oz.) can quartered artichoke hearts, drained
3 cups chopped (or shredded) cooked chicken
2 medium zucchini, coarsely chopped (about 2 cups)
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon lemon zest
generous pinch of salt
generous pinch of crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

Preheat oven to 425°. Melt butter in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat; add onion and garlic, and saut√© 5 minutes. Add rice, and cook 2 minutes or until golden brown. Add wine, and cook 2 to 3 minutes or until wine is absorbed. Add chicken broth. Bring to a boil, cover, and transfer to oven. Bake 20 minutes.
Remove rice from oven, and stir in artichokes and next 3 ingredients. Cover and bake 10 minutes. Remove from oven, and let stand 5 minutes. Stir in cheese, lemon zest, salt and red pepper flakes (if using). Serve immediately

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