March 21, 2012

Tomato Basil Risotto

I've finally stepped out of the risotto box. I'm experimenting with different flavors and textures. My staple, asparagus and cheese, has been neatly tucked onto the shelf, while I channel my inner creative nature. I had bought a bunch of basil and a small vine of tomatoes, planning to indulge in a margarita pizza. My instincts, food instincts different than real life instincts, told me that this would be a fine flavor combination for risotto. I've learned to always trust my food instincts, unless it involves caramel sauce, and then I pretty much put it on everything regardless of how I anticipate it to taste. Force of habit.

Risotto has become a major comfort food of mine. It's so easy to make, yet tastes as though you've been slaving away in the kitchen for hours. It's creamy and delicious, and tastes as though it's made of pure butter and cheese. Only, it's made with a shockingly small amount of butter and cheese, a lot of love and a bit of stirring. The starch from the rice rubs off and adds a creamy thickness to the sauce. Toasting the risotto adds a golden hue and nutty aroma. The combination of tomatoes, basil, and cheese is just perfect. A culinary win!

The winners for the eco-friendly striped straw contest are Karin and Mary Burnett. Congratulations! 

serves 4

1 large shallot, diced
1 tbsp butter
1 1/2 cups dry arborio rice
4 cups broth
8 - 10 small Campari vine tomatoes, quartered
1 large bunch baby basil leaves
1 oz fresh Parmesan Reggiano cheese, grated

Bring 4 cups of broth to a simmer.

In a large wok or cooking pot, cook the shallots in butter until glossy and translucent, on low - medium heat.

Add the arborio rice and cook with the shallots for 5 minutes, ensuring that you don't burn the rice.

Next, add a couple ladles of broth and stir. Let the stock and rice simmer until most of the liquid has absorbed, stirring occasionally. Repeat this process until 3/4 of the stock has been used.

Add the tomatoes and basil to the rice and stir. Continue adding the rest of the stock until the rice is soft, tender, and delicate. You should have minimal liquid left in the rice. The rice should hold its shape when scooped with a spoon, but most too mushy like porridge. Test the risotto to ensure that the rice has been fully cooked. It should not be crunchy.

Remove the risotto from the heat and add the grated cheese. Serve warm.


  1. This sounds like a tasty dish and definitely is a step away from your typical risottos! It seems like an elevated "grilled cheese and tomato soup" comfort. Perfect!

  2. I have flowered pots almost just like that! So pretty. :)

    And this risotto looks so delicious. Oh man.

    1. I just picked it up at Goodwill, and I am so in love.

  3. I love a simple risotto like this, with just tomato and basil. You know, I think I'm going to make this for dinner! Thanks for the tip :-)