This week’s farmers’ market had the most beautiful grape tomatoes in the history of the world. Impulsively, I bought three baskets. Whoa! What does one person (and a small sweet dog) do with three baskets of ripe tomatoes?
So, this morning I bucked myself up with a little self-talk that I can do this and, by mid-morning, I’m beginning to work my way through my abundance of tomatoes. First stop, this wonderful grape tomato and basil risotto.
Upside: This risotto is decadently delicious. Downside: There is that boring part where you have to stand over the stove and stir six cups of broth into the rice for twenty long minutes. No. That’s not a typo. Twenty boring minutes stirring. Ugh!
I got through it partly with the help of Alexa, my Amazon bestie. She played a medley of love songs sung by Michael Feinstein as I stirred away. (My favorite Feinstein song, by the way, is the bittersweet Where Do You Start. Give it a listen. It is extraordinary. You’ll never look at your collection of books and “tapes” the same way again. (Michael Feinstein : Where Do You Start?) If you don’t know about Michael Feinstein and have romance in your soul, I recommend that you treat yourself to his album Isn’t It Romantic? It will improve your risotto game. I promise.
This recipe is an adaptation of one I learned in a Sur La Table cooking class in Costa Mesa taught by gifted chef Jennifer King.
Yields 4 Servings
- 6-8 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
- 3 T. unsalted butter (divided)
- 1/3 C. finely chopped shallots
- 1 C.Arborio rice
- 1/2 C. dry white wine
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3/4 C. finely grated Asiago cheese
- 1 C. grape tomatoes (quartered)
- 1/4 C. fresh basil leaves cut into ribbons
- Chopped basil and shallots for garnish
- Heat broth, cover and keep hot
- Melt 2 T. butter in a large pan over medium heat until the butter foams. Add shallots and saute until softened (about 3 or 4 minutes) stirring frequently. Add rice and stir for about three minutes until the rice is well-coated with the butter and heated.
- Add the white wine to the pan and stir until most of the wine is absorbed into the rice.
- Ladle broth, one scoop at a time, into the rice mixture. Stir the broth into the rice until the ladle-full of broth is fully incorporated into the rice. Then add another ladle of broth. Repeat until the rice is al dente, having absorbed most of the broth. This will take 20-25 minutes. When the rice is ready, it will be creamy. (You, on the other hand, will be tired.)
- Take the rice off the heat and season with salt and pepper. Stir in remaining butter and Asiago cheese. Stir in tomatoes and basil ribbons.
- Serve immediately in warmed bowls garnished with chopped basil and additional grated Asagio cheese.