Minimal Monday: Roasted Tomato Risotto

I have a weakness for tomatoes on the vine.  I think we all do, that’s why they are coming up with varieties that stay attached to their stems longer.  It gives us the illusion that we just went out to the back forty and snipped them for dinner.  Some of my favorites are these ‘strawberry’ tomatoes.  You can actually roast them right on the vine.

Small tomatoes are perfect for roasting.  Since you don’t cut them their juices stay (mostly)  inside and the skins develop great flavor.  

Lay them out on a baking sheet and drizzle with a little olive oil, salt
and pepper.  Roast them in a hot, 425-450F oven for about 20 to 25
minutes.  Check their progress through your oven window.  You want to take your tomatoes just to the
brink of charring.  They’ll burst open and collapse, but if you let them go too
far they’ll release all their precious juices into the oven instead of into your risotto

These strawberry tomatoes have great flavor, and they’re so pretty.  You can spread the just roasted tomatoes onto some bruschetta, if you want to, but for this recipe you’ll puree them in a blender or food processor and get a rich tomato sauce.  You’ll be able to see a few tantalizing specs of black char blended into the bright red giving you a hint of that wonderful fresh roasted flavor

Roasted Tomato Risotto  ~~~adapted from

oven to 425-450F
1 lb strawberry or other small tomatoes, to make 1 cup puree
3 Tbsp olive oil, plus more for drizzling
2 bay leaves
1/2 large onion, finely chopped
2 shallots, minced
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
1/4 cup dry sherry (or white wine)
5 cups water, or water mixed with chicken or vegetable stock
a large handful of fresh basil leaves
salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste

  • Lay out the tomatoes on a baking sheet.  Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Roast the tomatoes for 20-25 minutes, just until they start to burst and collapse.  Don’t let them go too far or they will burn.  If your tomatoes are small, or your oven runs hot, this might take less time.
  • Puree the tomatoes in a blender or food processor until smooth.  You are going to want 1 cup of puree for this recipe.
  • Put the water, or stock and water in a saucepan on the stove and bring up to a simmer.  I like to add a couple of bay leaves to flavor the broth.
  • In a heavy bottomed pot heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil and saute the onion and shallot for about 10 minutes until translucent.  Stir often and don’t let them brown.
  • Add another tablespoon of oil and add the rice, stirring to coat.  Stir the rice for a minute or so, and then add the sherry.  Stir and let the liquid evaporate.  It’s going to smell wonderfully.
  • Add in the tomato puree, and cook for a minute or two until the liquid gets absorbed.
  • Add your hot broth, one ladle at a time, stirring to allow the liquid to be absorbed by the rice before going on to the next addition of broth.  I like to use a silicone spatula for this so you can scrape the bottom of the pot to prevent rice from sticking.  Do this over a medium heat, so that the pot is always at a low simmer.  Make sure your broth is at the same temperature.  The whole process should take about 35-40 minutes.  
  • Taste the rice a couple of times near the end to test for doneness.  You want the rice to be tender, but not mushy.  I like a little bite to it, like al dente pasta.  Now’s the time to add salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste.
  • When you are satisfied that the rice is tender, take it off the heat and add in the cheese.  Stir well until it’s completely incorporated.
  • Serve right away, garnished with the fresh basil and some extra cheese.

Hope you have a delicious week!

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