Wednesday, October 12, 2011

2 Recipe #289: Roasted Tomato Risotto With Fresh Basil & Sun-dried Tomatoes

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Ah, there's nothing like the rich and tangy taste of tomato risotto, especially when it contains roasted and sun-dried tomatoes and fresh herbs to give it lots of dimension.

This recipe only takes about a half hour to make. There aren't very many ingredients to chop, and the tomatoes are roasted whole, so it's a lot quicker to make than various other kinds of risotto. Also, you'll be multi-tasking by allowing the tomatoes to roast while you make the rice. To speed up the process even further, use pre-cut julienned sun-dried tomatoes. You'll be surprised at how quickly the whole process goes. And before you know it, you'll have a fabulous tasty meal to serve your guests in almost no time at all.

Roasted Tomato Risotto With Fresh Basil & Sun-dried Tomatoes

3 c. grape tomatoes, whole (1 1/2 dry pints of grape tomatoes)
1 1/2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 c. yellow onion, peeled and diced (about 3/4 small yellow onion)
1/4 c. shallots, peeled and minced
1/2 Tbsp. garlic, peeled and finely minced (about 1 large clove)
1 large fresh bay leaf
3/8 tsp. salt
1 c. superfino arborio rice
1/4 c. dry vermouth
1 tsp. unsalted butter
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
4 c. water or low-sodium organic vegetable broth
1/2 Tbsp. fresh rosemary leaves, finely minced
1 1/2 Tbsp. fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley, finely minced
2 Tbsp. fresh thyme leaves
1/2 c. fresh basil, julienned
1/3 (heaping) c. Asiago cheese shavings
1 Tbsp. freshly-squeezed lemon juice
1/3 c. lite non-dairy creamer (or plain, lite soy milk)*
1/2 c. fresh sundried tomatoes, julienned (buy pre-cut if possible to save some kitchen prep time)

Directions: Roast whole tomatoes on a baking tray covered with aluminum foil (for easy cleanup) in preheated 450°F oven for 20-25 minutes until tomato skin is lightly charred and blistered. Meanwhile, in a large (12-13") sauté pan, sauté onions, shallot, garlic, and bay leaf in extra virgin oil on low heat until soft and translucent but not browned, about 4-5 minutes. Stir frequently. Season with 1/8 tsp. salt to reduce faster. (Tip: When adding salt, sprinkle from high above to ensure a more even distribution.) Turn up heat to medium, mix in rice, stirring continually for about 1-2 minutes. Watch pan carefully so rice doesn't brown or burn. (This step is particularly important, as it cooks off the rice's starchy coating and prevents the grains from getting sticky and mushy when the liquid ingredients are added. Rice should be slightly crispy, but not browned, and a translucent outline will appear around outside border of the rice.) As soon as rice has become crispy, quickly deglaze with vermouth, stirring constantly, until liquid is absorbed, about 1 minute. As the liquid reduces, quickly add butter, black pepper, and remaining salt, and stir until just combined. Wait until pan only has a thin layer of liquid on the bottom, then use a liquid measuring cup to incorporate water/broth, adding only one cup at a time, stirring constantly. Allow each cup to be absorbed before adding the next. Each addition should be only just enough to cover the risotto. Cook until rice is al dente, about 20-25 minutes. During the last addition of water/broth, add the roasted tomatoes, rosemary, parsley, thyme, and 1/4 c. basil, combine well, and then continue to stir. Test to see if it's ready by pinching a rice grain; if only 2 or less beads remain, the rice is done. Rice should be creamy but still firm.When ready, remove from heat and discard bay leaf with a slotted spoon. Stir in Asiago cheese. Then add lemon juice, light nondairy creamer (or plain, lite soy milk, if preferred), and sun-dried tomatoes, mixing thoroughly to evenly distribute ingredients. Garnish each portion with a 1/4 c. fresh basil, and if desired, additional Asiago shavings. Serve immediately.

Yield: 3-4 servings.

Chef's Notes: Recommended Equipment: I like to use a nice deep sauté pan like the Calphalon One Nonstick 5-Quart Sauté Pan with Glass Lid. This pan works really nicely & is the perfect dimensions for risotto, i.e., nice & deep, but wide enough to accomodate all the ingredients, without them stacking on top of each other. It's particularly important in this dish that the ingredients have enough room to spread out in the pain; otherwise the ingredients will steam versus sauté.

*I personally prefer the flavor of lite non-dairy creamer instead of soy milk, but of course, using soy milk adds more protein to the dish, unless you'd like to add more cheese instead. The choice is up to you. :)


Yum Yucky said...

this looks absolutely amazing. I've been wanting to make risotto for years. Literally! I'm going to gather up the ingredients for this and make it happen.

Cyberpenguin said...

Thanks, YY! That's awesome! Glad to supply a recipe so that you can finally try your hand at making risotto. Hope you have a great time making and eating it, and if you have any questions about the recipe (procedure, etc.), just let me know. Will look forward to hearing how it turns out for you. Enjoy!

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