Spanish Baked Risotto and Beans

Yes, I’m still in Panama. Today we thought we were headed for the mountains. We were confused. It happens to us when we’re on vacation- well, actually it happens not on vacation too! I’m dreaming of Spanish food because on this island, we have Italian. We did have a fabulous risotto with artichokes a couple nights ago – still Italian. So let’s talk arroz con frijoles.

That’s right, rice and beans, but I used risotto rice.  If you live in Texas and you don’t like rice and beans, you probably need to regroup.  For the first 27 years of my life, I wouldn’t touch rice.  Now I buy all different kinds, and look for ways to make it.  Usually I eat short grain brown rice, but I also love the very short grain arborio rice that turns out to be creamy when cooked.  I don’t love stirring it for 30-45 minutes to cook it on stovetop though, so I bake it occasionally (in the summer, I use the outside oven).  If you’re not a rice lover and you’ve never tried short grain rice, it’s so much more flavorful compared to long grain.  You may have to buy it in the bulk section of a large grocery store, or at a natural foods store.

Spanish Baked Risotto and Beans

Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Yield: Serves 6-8

For me, this is a pretty versatile dish. I eat it as a side, or for breakfast I put a fried egg on top. For a lunch or dinner, stuff the cooked rice in a bell pepper, top it with a little Parmesan and bake it.


  • 3 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small white onion, chopped
  • 1/2 bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 TBSP capers
  • 1 1/4 cup arborio or carnaroli rice (risotto rice)
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp granulated garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne or ground chipotle powder
  • 1/2 cup wine
  • 4 1/2 cups liquid, combination of broth, picante, diced tomatoes, etc.
  • 1 1/4 cups cooked black beans (or add more if you like)
  • 1/2-1 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese, or something you like


  1. In a large pan like a dutch oven, heat oil on medium and add the onion and bell pepper. Cook and stir until the onions are translucent.
  2. Heat oven to 400.
  3. Stir in garlic and next 8 ingredients. Cook and stir for about 3 minutes. The rice should be well coated with oil.
  4. Stir in the wine. When it's almost evaporated, add the rest of the liquid. Bring to a boil.
  5. Stir in the beans, cilantro, and cheese.
  6. Cover and bake about 45-60 min. or until rice is cooked. Stir well when you remove from the oven. It will be creamy.
  7. Serve with a dollop of sour cream or Greek yogurt.