I’ve never met a risotto I didn’t like!  It’s one of the most versatile dishes around. You can get fancy  (lobster and saffron come to mind), or keep it simple, but it’s always satisfying.   This tomato risotto falls into the latter category, in that I didn’t roast the tomatoes myself.  Instead I used a Muir’s product that I’m quite fond of.  Their roasted tomatoes have just the right amount of heat and smoke, and these days I shamelessly admit gastronomic shortcuts without guilt, as long as they involve quality ingredients.   This risotto will also succeed with  homemade oven-dried tomatoes, or a lovingly prepared tomato confit.  But, for the time being try this version, which will warm up your senses, every single one of them! 😉

(inspired by Donna Hay)

1 shallot, finely minced
1 Tbs olive oil
1 cup Arborio rice (or other short grain rice appropriate for risotto)
3-4 cups of vegetable stock
1 can (14.5 oz) of Muir fire-roasted tomatoes, some of the liquid included
(I used  diced tomatoes with green chilies)
salt and pepper
1-2 Tbs butter to finish the dish

Heat the vegetable stock in a sauce pan, add all the tomatoes and some of the water, season lightly with salt and pepper, and reserve, keeping it warm.

Saute the minced shallots in olive oil until soft. Add the rice and saute for at least 2 minutes, stirring often, making sure each grain is well coated with oil.

Start adding the hot vegetable stock/tomato mixture, slowly, 1/2 cup at a time, allowing it to be almost fully incorporated before adding more liquid. Keep stirring gently. Add some fresh thyme towards the end of the cooking time. Keep the heat low, and pay attention to the changes in the rice grains:  they’ll become more plump and translucent as they cook. When the rice is ready (not mushy), add a little more stock.  Finish it by swirling some butter and stirring to form a nice emulsion with the sauce. Serve immediately.


to print the recipe, click here

Comments: Donna Hay used tomato puree, white wine, and served her risotto with mussels.  We didn’t have any white wine on hand, so I just used stock and tomatoes. Whenever you make risotto, be sure to warm enough liquid for the cooking – better to have some leftover than to run out of it midway through the preparation. The amount in the recipe is more than enough, even considering variations in the type (and age) of the rice.

We enjoyed it with seared sea scallops, seasoned with salt, pepper, and a dust of ground coriander, then seared quickly on a hot non-stick skillet with a smear of olive oil. It was a good match for the fiery rice, leading my husband  to close the dinner with one of my favorite phrases: “you are going to make this again, right”? No worries there.  In fact, I think I’ll have an “encore”  next week! 😉

ONE YEAR AGO: A special dinner for two

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