Tomato Basil Risotto

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Have you ever made a grocery run only to realize you bought something you did not need? I most certainly have (probably more often than I’d like to admit). On this week’s “I bought something I already had” is cherry tomatoes. To be fair, I typically buy these on every grocery run because I use cherry tomatoes a lot for pasta dishes, roasting, pizza and so much more. What to do when you have too many cherry tomatoes AND white wine? Make tomato basil risotto!

 

I love risotto, because there is a recipe for every season.  With summer quickly approaching, this tomato basil risotto is one of the best ways to use the in-season tomatoes. It’s slightly sweet, nutty, fresh and cheesy — all that you want when you’re eating a giant bowl of delicious carbs.

 

Ingredients (serves 4-6) 

6 cups vegetable stock  

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup finely chopped onion

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 1/2 cups Arborio rice

1/2 cup Pinot Grigio  

1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved

1 tablespoon chopped chili peppers in oil, optional

2 tablespoons basil, thinly sliced

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, diced 

Salt/pepper, to taste  

Begin by heating the vegetable stock over low heat. 

In a medium-large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, sauté for 2-3 minutes. Next, add the uncooked Arborio rice. Sauté to release the nutty aroma of the rice, about 1-2 minutes. 

While the rice is sautéing, add the pint of halved cherry tomatoes to a food processor. Quickly pulse until finely chopped. Note: the consistency will be that of tomato juice with small chunks of tomato.

Add the tomato mixture to the rice. Sauté for an additional 5-7 minutes. While the mixture cooks, add the chopped chili peppers in oil.

Next, add the Pinot Grigio and cook until the wine is evaporated.

This next step creates the signature creamy texture of the risotto. Add a ladle (about 1/2 cup) of the vegetable stock to the rice. Continue to stir until the liquid is mostly absorbed. Continue this process for 25 minutes, or until the risotto is soft and tender. 

When the risotto is complete add an additional ladle of vegetable stock, basil, chopped tomatoes, Parmesan cheese and salt/pepper, to taste.

Serve immediately to maximize the creaminess of the risotto. Top with fresh basil and grated Parmesan cheese. Enjoy!

Elizabeth Canas