Saturday, 2 February 2013

My Tomato-Basil Risotto

Since my best friend Véronique showed me how to make risotto, I was very eager to make more of the delicious, creamy, sticky rice dish. I made a very successful shrimp and lemon risotto this fall. Regular readers of this blog know how much I like the taste of tomato and basil, and when I was asked to bring a side-dish to a family meal, I decided to adapt the V-Wonder's recipe to make a big batch of gorgeous, gooey arborio to feed my in-laws.

The result was lip-smacking tasty, easy to pull-off and made a splendid and impressive offering to the big family meal. While it would be delicious devoured on it's own, it was also neutral enough to go along well with a wide range of main dishes.

Here is how to make this lovely and simple risotto, for 4 to 6 people:

1 (28 ounce) can whole tomatoes, drained, liquid reserved and tomatoes roughly chopped
Chicken or vegetable broth
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup white wine
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 cups arborio rice
1/2 tablespoon dried basil
1 small bunch fresh basil, leaves picked and finely chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigianno-Reggiano

Pour the juice from the can of tomatoes in a 4-cups measuring cup. Top with chicken broth until you have 4 cups of liquid. Pour that liquid in a small sauce pan, and heat over medium heat until it comes to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat to keep it simmering.

Pour 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pan, and on medium heat, sauté the onion and garlic until soft. Be careful not to brown the onion.

Sprinkle with the dried basil and add the tomatoes, being careful not to add any of the liquid from the can. Add the arborio rice and 3 tablespoons of olive oil, and stir so that all the grains of rice are coated in oil. Cook until the rice becomes translucent.

Add the wine and let it get fully absorbed by the rice, stirring constantly. Take a ladle-full of stock and add to the rice with a good pinch of salt. Stir to mix, and cook, stirring, until all the stock is absorbed.

Continue to add stock, one ladle at the time until the rice is al dente and creamy, 16 to 18 minutes. When adding the last ladle, also add the fresh basil leaves.

Take the rice off the heat, add butter, Parmigianno-Reggiano, pepper and mix well.

After trying it a few times, I have found that the trick to risotto is to use a wide pan (so that as much rice as possible gets heated up at the same time), an angled spatula to stir (to make sure no grain of arborio is left untouched - my stir-fry spatula is my favorite tool here), to taste often to test the rice's texture... and obviously to keep an eye on it. The change in texture and creaminess is visible as the cooking progresses and when you move the pan around and notice fluid waves of fragrant rice, you know you are on the right track. You also want to make sure nothing is sticking, so blast some good music, pour yourself a glass of wine and stir-away!


  1. That looks delicious, thanks for the recipe!

  2. That is a great recipe, gonna have to try it! I love dishes like this, always find some great ones on Tilda Basmati's website, think you would love it too!

  3. oooh! thanks for the link: I will look it up! :-)