Baked Sundried Tomato Risotto With Grilled Veggies and Balsamic Reduction

Baked Sundried Tomato Risotto with Veggies and Balsamic Reduction

I’m starting to miss summer veggies. We’re in a food rut over here. Today my husband turned to me and said, “Judging from the blog, people would never guess that all we eat is pasta.”

Clearly something needed to be done.

When I’m feeling the food blues, I like to make fancy things. Scratch that–I like to make things that look fancy, but are actually pretty simple. When I think of an easy lunch, I usually don’t think risotto. All that stirring… it’s definitely only a once-in-a-while thing for me. But baked risotto! A little prep then 25 minutes in the oven and voila. It’s a little different in texture than standard risotto, which is creamier. This is closer to a pilaf than anything, but it’s still delicious. I’m going to try making it with more liquid next time to see if I can replicate the creaminess of stirred risotto.

But back to lunch. The risotto practically cooks itself, so with 25 minutes of downtime I could prep some veggies to accompany it. I wanted to make the end of December feel more like the middle of July. Canned artichokes, a red pepper, and an eggplant all volunteered. These are all veggies that are great cooked simply, roasted or grilled with wee bit of olive oil and salt. To jazz them up a touch, I made a very easy (and very tasty) balsamic reduction to drizzle over the plate before serving.

Grilled and Roasted Veggies

If you’ve never made a balsamic reduction before, you should really give it a shot. It only has one ingredient (I’ll give you three guesses, and the first two don’t count). It can be prepared ahead of time, and it goes with all sorts of foods (even fruit!). And it looks pretty. Drizzle some messily on your dinner plate and you go from a nice looking meal to a gourmet looking meal immediately. See?

Baked Sundried Tomato Risotto with Veggies and Balsamic Reduction

Chefs love to drizzle stuff all over plates. I don’t blame them. If you can drizzle something tasty, go for it. Extra points for a bright or contrasting color. Just make sure your drizzle-stuff is sort of thick and syrupy so it sticks where you put it. If it’s too thin it will run all over.

Baked Risotto With Grilled Veggies and Balsamic Reduction
Serves two to three

1 Garlic Clove, minced
1/2 Red Onion, finely chopped (or 3-4 shallots)
2 Tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Cup Arborio Rice
1/3 Cup Oil Packed Sundried Tomatoes, chopped
1 tsp Dried Italian Herbs, your choice
1/2 Cup Cooking Sherry
2 Cups Hot Vegetable Stock, or water and veg bullion cube
1/2 tsp Salt (if needed)

1 Small Eggplant*
4 Water Packed Artichoke Hearts
1 Bell Pepper (or jared, roasted red pepper)

Balsamic Vinegar (at least 1/2 cup)

*I only used 2 slices of eggplant per person, so you won’t need an entire eggplant to make this dish.

Preheat your oven to 450º F.

Roasted Red PepperBegin by sauteing the garlic and onion in olive oil in an oven safe sauté pan that has high sides and a tight fitting lid. While the onion is cooking over medium heat, begin roasting the pepper if you are using a fresh one. Instructions can be found here.

Once the onion has softened and browned, add the rice and stir to coat with the oil. Sauté for 2-3 minutes. Add tomatoes and herbs. Add the cooking sherry and stir until absorbed by the rice. Add the stock/water, stir, cover and bake for 25-30 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat a cast-iron grill pan with some olive oil. When the pan is very hot, add slices of eggplant and drizzle with olive oil. Grill until tender, remove from the pan. Slice the artichoke hearts in quarters and grill for a few minutes, set aside when completed. Sprinkle both lightly with salt.

To make the reduction, heat balsamic vinegar in a sauce pan, reducing by half until the vinegar is syrupy. The more vinegar you use, the easier it is to make, but the longer it takes. If you only use a small amount of vinegar, you can overcook it easily; keep a close eye on it. While the vinegar is reducing, check for consistency by drizzling some on a plate. If it is thick and syrupy, and tastes sweet and tangy, you’re ready to go. Try not to burn or completely caramelize the vinegar.

One the risotto comes out of the oven, remove the cover and fluff it with a fork. BE CAREFUL. While I was plating the dish, I had forgotten that the pan had just come out of a 450º oven and tried to move it out of the way. I plated, photographed, and wrote about this dish one hand because of that. Ouch.

Plate the dish. I used a cooking ring to form the risotto, put the artichokes on top, and the eggplant and pepper next to the risotto. Drizzle with the reduction and serve.

Happy New Year!

Baked Sundried Tomato Risotto with Veggies and Balsamic Reduction


  1. Mike

    We made classic risotto for Christmas Eve dinner. I must try this baked version – looks so easy. And the vegies are to die for. I always adore your photos!

  2. Suganya

    So I made this risotto for lunch. I just loooooved it. Few changes I made, brown rice instead of white, 1 green chilli for some heat and a cup of chopped fresh herbs. I agree with you it needs more liquid. I will add 1/2 cup of water next time. But, nothing to complain about. It was quite satisfying with a side of roasted root vegetables. Thanks for this amazing recipe.

  3. VeggieGirl

    I miss summer vegetables (and fruits!) as well – but hey, I’d be willing to forgo feeling somber about lack of summer produce for a taste of your stunningly-beautiful (and delicious-sounding) risotto & grilled vegetables!! yum!!

  4. Soni

    I hear you on the balsamic reduction. Hubs and I picked up a bottle of pre-made balsamic glaze, which is similar, and we have a running bet on whether or not there’s actually anything it doesn’t improve. So far, it’s been drizzled over everything from roasted veggies to peach ice cream, and has always come out a success.

  5. stidmama

    I love this — or I would, but I don’t know what to substitute for the eggplant… which is a very big food allergy for me. Would tofu or squash be an acceptable substitution? Or — would any veggies on hand work, since they are a “side” to the risotto?

    I really enjoy reading about your food odyssey, and I can’t wait for your cookbook.

  6. Sat

    We fixed this last night and it turned out well (it also gave us a reason to use the Calphalon 12″ everyday pan we got for Christmas). We actually brought this over as a “side” dish for a New Years Eve party and it seemed to go over well. I never realized balsamic reduction could taste so yummy though. I just started using balsamic vinegar in my cooking and this gives me one more thing to use it with :) It did make our apartment smell awful during the reduction process though. Any tips on avoiding that?

  7. holler

    I always make risotto the traditional way, but this sounds really good! I will give it a go! Great presentation and photos! I Love balsamic vinegar, I won’t tell you how much I spent on a bottle at a food fair, you may faint! But I have to say, it tastes amazing!

  8. tara

    My brother is a vegetarian and I’m always looking for interesting options to serve at family gatherings. I’ve been wary of featuring risottos (one of his faves) at such events, just because of the attention they require at the last minute. This seems to be a perfect solution! So lovely.

  9. Claire

    Such an elegant presentation! Risotto is definitely more time intensive than “easy” allows for, but I’m intrigued by the concept of making it baked. I’m wondering if the dish could be made almost as a layered casserole – baking separate rice ramekins, and then layering the veggies in the center. But I love your elegant presentation!

    Best wishes for a happy new year.

  10. sheree

    Oh how I miss all veggies right now. I feel like the holidays were junk, junk, and more junk. They really weren’t but since I usually don’t touch sweets it seems like a lot to me. thank you so much for the recipe. This might be dinner tonight.

  11. Hannah

    Found your blog on StumbleUpon!! Love it! I am a pescetarian but I love eating Vegan food. I can’t wait to try out everything.

  12. Morgyn

    I had this for dinner tonight (minus the eggplant, because I am an eggplant failure…) and it was delicious! As always, thanks for the great recipes. :)

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  14. Krista

    I made this on Friday for Valentine’s day and it was wonderful. I did, however, add parmesan and asiago to the risotto for creaminess. I used canned peppers, I reccomend using fresh. I also used marinated artichokes, use regular. I grilled my eggplant on a charcoal grill. BIG mistake. It tasted like a chunk of charcoal. Despite it all, however, it was amazing and I would make it again and again. Oh, and the balsamic reduction made the meal. It was such a nice tiny addition that made a huge difference. Thank you for this delicious recipe!

  15. Jfer

    I just may make this as a welcome home meal when my hubby returns from Taiwan, not too heavy for him and who doesnt adore balsamic?!?!

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  17. Jennifer Catriana

    We had this for our Christmas feast, 2008… even with fake white wine (de-alcoholized from Trader Joe) it was utter perfection. I just had to make it again (twice), this time sans garlic and onion due to my sattvic diet (so, I cheated the first time) and it was STILL utter perfection.
    When I was a vegetarian and was told my food was “restaurant quality” I was a bit miffed. Of course. Why would there be any doubt?
    Now that I am eating a vegan diet, I do not take compliments like that for granted. But folks, this IS beyond restaurant quality! Thank you Lolo for making our feast memorable!

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