Here is a dish that, as delicious and colourful and filling and wonderful as it is, you will never see on a café or restaurant menu.
Why? Because it’s made with tinned tuna. A tin of tuna is the stuff of home cooks; of mid-week fishcakes made with leftover mashed potato, of creamy, cheesy macaroni tuna mornay. Simple, un-starry meals; cheap and cheerful; and undeniably nostalgic and comforting.
So as the days get shorter and cooler, one craves something ever-so-slightly more substantial than a salad. This is it: oven-baked risotto. Before you think ‘stodge’, let me tell you this is lightened by green polka-dot peas and grated zucchini, the last of the season. And a luscious topping of almost-last of the season tomatoes, juicy and vibrant.
And of course, tinned tuna.
Carla’s tuna and tomato oven risotto
Adapted from Carla’s recipe; I halved her original quantity for four modest servings, and added zucchini. I’ve since made it without following quantities too strictly at all; as long as you get the water-to-rice ratio okay (and you can easily remedy that if you don’t), risotto is pretty accommodating.
First, some prep:
- Bring 250 mls vegie stock and 250 mls water to simmer. Have a kettle of boiled water on standby, in case you need to add more during the cooking process.
- Take a generous half cup of frozen peas and allow to thaw out (you can zap in microwave or pour boiling water over them, as I did).
- Grate some zucchini, about a cup’s worth (don’t get too hung about the quantity).
- And roughly chop some tomatoes, enough to cover the surface of the baking dish you’re going to use (probably three or four, depending too on the size of your tomatoes).
- While we're at it, dice half a large onion (or a medium one!) and crush three or four garlic cloves (or to your taste).
Now get cooking:
- Preheat your oven to 180.
- Melt a small wodge of butter and a slosh of olive oil and gently cook the onion and garlic until soft and translucent.
- Add ¾ cups arborio rice and stir around to toast for a few minutes.
- Add hot stock and two 95 gm tins of good quality tuna in oil that you’ve drained.
- Transfer the risotto to a large baking dish and cover with foil. Pop in the oven and bake for 20 minutes.
- Remove from oven, remove the foil (if it’s looking a bit dry, add some hot water from the kettle), and bake for another 20 minutes.
- Remove from oven, stir thru the peas and zucchini (again, if it’s looking a bit dry, add some hot water), top with the tomatoes and drizzle with a little olive oil. Bake for another 20 minutes or until rice is tender.
- Remove from oven, and serve with a good squeeze of lemon juice, some capers, and some basil. Enjoy.