This baked fennel risotto is perfect for a busy weeknight dinner when you want the oven to do the hard work! It's fragrant from the fennel, and perfectly creamy from the arborio rice and cheese. Baked risotto is always a good idea when you need some comfort food!
Risotto always feels like quite an indulgent and cosy dinner idea. If your family loves it too, then you may like to see my baked asparagus risotto and vegan beetroot risotto. Both have all the comfort food vibes!
⭐ What makes this recipe so good
- It's flavourful from the fennel - the aniseed taste is so good, and unlike any other vegetable.
- Cosy and warming - need a hug in a bowl for your dinner? Risotto is the one to do that!
- Easy to prepare - there are only a few very easy steps, then the oven does the work with this baked risotto.
- (Almost) no stirring - making baked risotto means you don't have to stand and continually stir as you do with risotto made on the stove top. Yay, more time to watch Netflix!
As well as the fresh vegetables, you will need risotto rice and herbs for this baked risotto:
- Onion and garlic: the regular staple ingredients for the base of flavour for risotto. If you are low histamine you may prefer to use white onion.
- Risotto rice: you need a specific type of rice for risotto, one that will absorb the liquid. I always use arborio rice.
- Fennel: for its lovely aniseed flavour. Be sure to cut off the green fronds and stalks, and de-core before slicing.
- Zucchini: diced, for some extra greens.
- Kale: optional, but gets your leafy greens in!
- Thyme: for its lovely herby flavour, and also a reputed antihistamine.
- Parsley: a good source of vitamin C apparently, and tastes great too.
- Vegetable broth: homemade is always nice, but if you use store-bought then check ingredients if you are low histamine.
- Cream cheese: I suggest using one that has as few additives as possible.
📖 Variations to the recipe
If you would like some extra greens, then adding a handful of kale after half the cooking time has elapsed (when you stir halfway through) is a nice addition.
🔪 Step by step instructions
This baked fennel risotto is very easy to make, and takes just a few steps before the oven does the work for you (that's when you can put your feet up and watch TV . . .)
After preheating the oven, gently fry onion and garlic in a pan or an ovenproof dish until softened.
Add the fennel and zucchini and fry for a further 4-5 minutes until beginning to soften. I suggest cutting the fennel fairly finely as it is quite a fibrous vegetable.
Transfer the vegetables to an ovenproof dish (if you were using a different pan on the stove top), and then add the rice and vegetable broth. Stir very throughly so the rice is evenly distributed in your dish. Bake for 15 minutes.
After 15 minutes, remove from the oven and stir so the rice is again evenly distributed. If the risotto looks too dry then add more vegetable broth. Bake for another 15 minutes.
Remove from the oven and stir in the cream cheese, kale (if using), and season with salt and pepper (if using) and the thyme leaves. Bake for a further 3-4 minutes. Then plate up and enjoy!
💭 Recipe tips and notes
- Be sure to fry the onion and zucchini before baking the risotto.
- It's important to stir the risotto halfway through the cook time. This ensures the rice can evenly absorb the stock, cook through and get that creamy texture!
- The cream cheese is optional, but does give a nice creaminess.
📋 Frequently asked questions
You need to use a rice appropriate for risotto recipes, rather than regular white rice. The most common risotto rices are arborio rice and carnaroli. Personally I always use arborio rice.
Everyone likes their risotto a little different. Personally I like it quite thick, but others prefer a more thin and liquid texture. Simply add more vegetable broth halfway through cooking or as you add the cream cheese for a thinner consistency.
I've tried to freeze risotto a few times, and it didn't work out well for me. The rice became too hard and clumpy, and wasn't the comfort food dinner I was hoping for. Best eaten when just cooked I think.
🥣 More risotto recipes
Choose from many creamy and delicious options, including my popular pesto chicken risotto! Some recent recipes:
Baked Fennel Risotto
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 garlic clove minced or finely diced
- ½ white onion diced
- 1 cup arborio rice
- 1 fennel bulb stems and core removed, diced
- ½ zucchini diced
- 1 cup kale diced
- 2.5 cups vegetable broth
- 2 tablespoon cream cheese
- 1 tablespoon thyme leaves
- 1 tablespoon parsley
- pinch salt
- pinch black pepper optional
- Preheat the oven to 200C / 390F.
- Gently fry onion and garlic in a little olive oil, in a pan or an ovenproof dish for 5-6 minutes or until softened. Add the fennel and zucchini and fry for a further 4-5 minutes until beginning to soften.
- Transfer the vegetables to an ovenproof dish (if you were using a different pan on the stove top), and then add the rice and vegetable broth. Stir very throughly so the rice is evenly distributed in your dish. Bake for 15 minutes.
- After 15 minutes, remove from the oven and stir so the rice is again evenly distributed. If the risotto looks too dry then add more vegetable broth. Bake for another 15 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and stir in the cream cheese, kale (if using), and season with salt and pepper (if using) and the thyme leaves. Bake for a further 3-4 minutes. Then plate up, garnish with a sprinkle of herbs and enjoy!
- Be sure to fry the fennel and zucchini to begin with, as this will help it soften.
- Stir the risotto mixture very thoroughly before baking as the rice needs to be evenly distributed so it can absorb the stock.
- Please note that nutritional information is offered as a courtesy. It is auto-generated and should be understood to be an estimate.
- black pepper, which scores 2.
- garlic, which scores 1.
- vegetable broth will vary depending upon ingredients used.
- kale is not rated on the SIGHI list.