Baked ‘Lentilotto’

baked lentilotto-2

Baked ‘Lentilotto’

I’ve been a fan of using red lentils to make a healthier and much easier (hello no constant stirring!) spin on risotto for a few years now.

Normally I just cook on the stove top, stirring from time to time, but I recently had the (I like to think) brilliant idea of doing a baked version with no stirring at all. It takes a few minutes longer to cook but it is just as oozy and comforting AND you can pretty much forget about it while it cooks itself. Winner!

This is my basic or ‘template’ recipe. Feel free to add whatever other ingredients you feel like. Anything that would work in a risotto is a great place to start. Although I am a huge fan of this super simple version.

enough for: 2
takes: 25 minutes

1 large onion, chopped
4 tablespoons butter
2 cups chicken or veg stock
200g (7oz) red lentils
2 handfuls grated parmesan

1. Heat an oven proof pot on the stove top and preheat your oven to 200C (400F).

2. Add butter and onion and cook stirring every now and then until the onion is soft, about 10 minutes.

3. Add the stock and lentils. Bring to a simmer on the stove top.

4. Season and cover with a lid or some foil. Bake for 15 minutes or until the lentils are super soft.

5. Stir in the parmesan and serve with a green salad on the side.

Variations

dairy-free / vegan – use olive oil instead of the butter and replace parmesan with some finely grated brazil nuts. Or just serve with some extra olive oil drizzled over for richness.

herby – add a few sprigs of thyme or rosemary or sage in with the onions.

mushroom – brown some chopped mushrooms in with the onion.

no oven – just simmer the lentils in the stock on the stove top stirring every few minutes. Add an extra 1/2 cup of stock or more because you’re going to get much more evaporation with the pot uncovered.

carnivore – brown some chicken, crumbled sausages, bacon or sliced chorizo in the pan after cooking the onions. Or you could just serve with some prosciutto.

more veg – add sliced mushrooms, diced celery and diced carrot to cook with the onion. And feel free to stir in your favourite cooked veg before serving.

short on time – cook on the stove top. Just simmer the lentils stirring for 10 minutes or until soft. Then add the parmesan. If you’re really short on time skip the onion.

carb lovers / more substantial – serve with crusty bread & butter or Garlic Bread.

paleo (grain, legume & dairy-free) / low carb – serve this quick beef ragu or the roast chorizo & broccoli instead.

Waste Avoidance Strategy

onion – will keep in the pantry for months. Best if in a dark corner in a brown paper bag.

butter – keeps in the fridge for months.

stock / red lentils – keep them in the pantry.

parmesan – wrap in waxed paper or baking paper and store in the fridge in a sealed paper bag or airtight container. Will keep for months. Can be frozen if you’re going away.

Prepare Ahead

Yes! Just cook as per the recipe. Will keep in the fridge for 2 weeks or can be frozen. To serve, bring back to a simmer on the stove. Add a little water if it seems too dry.

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