baked risotto for one

Baked Risotto for One

As a solo diner, risotto has been a restaurant pleasure. Oh sure, I know how to make risotto the classic way, ladling spoonfuls of hot broth into the rice and stirring, stirring, stirring all the time. And when I feel like doing that, with music playing and a glass of wine to hand, it’s a pleasure to do so. But if I am completely honest, that might happen once or twice a year. So let me introduce you to a new kitchen friend: baked risotto for one. That’s right: nix the standing over the stove and the stirring, and make a much easier version.

You’ll need good chicken stock – and, believe it or not, the NY Times folks rank this version from Target as their #1 pick, with another Target version as their budget choice. If you’re looking for a supermarket version, look for College Inn unsalted chicken stock. These all come in quart (32 oz) sizes, and you’ll need about a quarter of that. If you won’t use the rest soon, divide it into 1-cup portions and freeze them for later. Why am I going on about picking a good chicken stock? Because that totally affects the flavor of the risotto, and if you’re going to bother to cook, make it delicious.

You’ll also need a sturdy 1-quart saucepan with a lid that can go in the oven. I have a decent one that’s no longer available – mine looks a bit like this one from Amazon. If all your pots are very thin metal, or are not oven-proof, you could use a 1-quart lidded casserole dish.  At any rate, you need something that can go in the oven, and is of a material that will heat evenly and won’t have hotspots that would make the rice burn.

The process is actually very easy: preheat your oven to 375˚F / 190˚C. Chop a small shallot and maybe a single small clove of garlic. Melt butter (or butter + oil) in the saucepan, sweat the shallot so that it’s tender and translucent, then add a quarter-cup of Arborio rice. Stir that around a bit, then add in a single cup of good chicken stock, and bring this to a boil. Now either stick the lid on the pot and put it in the oven, or pour everything into your casserole, stick the lid on it, and put that in the oven. Bake it for about 20 minutes.

I cut this recipe down to size, and have included variations. You might like a bit of saffron in your risotto. Lemon and butter make a nice variation, as does pesto. You can add spinach to get your greens in. Leftover sautéed mushrooms are delightful with risotto. Try it at home, and see what you like best about this simple baked risotto for one.

baked risotto for one

Baked Risotto for One

Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: easy, small batch, serves 1, serves one, rice
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 1
Easy risotto in a single serving. Includes variations.
Print Recipe


  • tsp unsalted butter or olive oil
  • 1 small shallot chopped finely
  • 1 small clove garlic minced (optional)
  • ¼ cup Arborio rice
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • generous ¼ cup frozen peas


  • Heat oven to 375˚F.
  • In a sturdy 1-quart saucepan, heat butter or oil over medium heat. Add the shallot and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add garlic, if using, and stir until fragrant, 1 minute. Add the rice, season with salt and pepper, and stir until coated in oil and lightly toasted, 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Add stock and bring to a boil over high heat.
  • If your saucepan is ovenproof, cover it and bake until almost all the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender, about 20 minutes.
  • If your saucepan is thin or is not ovenproof, tip everything out into the casserole dish, cover it and bake until almost all the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender,. This might take a bit longer, as the casserole will start out cold. Begin checking at 20 minutes.
  • When the rice is tender, remove from the oven. Stir in the frozen peas and any other additions you'd like (up to 1 cup of fresh spinach, for instance).
  • Adjust seasonings and serve while hot.


Variations: you might want to add grated Parmesan, or a squeeze of lemon juice, or a pat of butter just before serving. For pesto risotto, stir in a heaping spoonful of pesto. For saffron risotto, add a pinch of saffron with the chicken stock. For a green version, add 2-3 chard leaves, finely shredded, to the rice just before the stock goes in.