I think everyone should know the basics of making risotto. Yes, the dish has a bad rep. You know, that it's fussy, hard to make, stays out late and once dated Paris Hilton. But really, risotto is anything but. Not only is it easy to prepare, but it is so hearty and versatile that every cook should know how to make it the traditional way.

That said, we are going to cheat. We are going to bake it. This is probably illegal in Italy and some parts of New York. That's okay, because this orange and vanilla bean risotto is delicious and worth a little hard time.

Prep time: 20 minutes  

Total time: 40 minutes 

Baked Risotto with Orange and Vanilla Bean


  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 1 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 oranges, juiced and zested
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 cup of honey
  • 1/2 cup fresh cranberries
Cooking directions
  1. Using a French oven, or something similar, add the rice, coconut milk, regular milk, orange juice and zest, sugar and vanilla bean. You could substitute ingredients like vanilla extract for the vanilla bean, but you don't want to be wrong, do you? No, seriously, you can. I just find there is a lot more texture in the flavor of the bean.
  2. Once everything is mixed together, you are going to want to bake it in the over, covered, at 425 degrees for about 25 minutes. So go watch an episode of "Archer" on Netflix while it bakes and makes your house smell good enough to eat. Do not overcook it; it will dry out, and no one wants that.
  3. Now we are going to poach the cranberries. Yum! And it is so simple. Bring the honey to a boil in a small sauce pan over a medium heat. Now, unlike the baked risotto, you must keep an eye on this. Boiling honey goes from bubbly to volcanic without a moment's notice.
  4. Once the whole pan is boiling, carefully add in the cranberries. This is so much fun to do because they kind of explode in the process. And they are wicked tasty. I love honey-poached cranberries on toast, pancakes, people. There isn't much I am not willing to eat them off of. Swirl them around for about a minute until they begin to pop and then remove them from the heat.
  5. When that risotto is done baking, serve it up with some of the cranberry sauce.