Tomatoes pair so nicely with carbs. Pizza margherita, classic marinara with pasta, bruschetta--you get the picture! The tomato acidity is balanced with subtle sweetness, and it just pairs perfectly with the starchy carbs.
I had a pound of fresh, juicy, picked-from-the-vine heirloom tomatoes sitting on my counter. It is tough to beat the flavor of a freshly picked heirloom tomato. Heirloom tomatoes have fun names, such as Brandywine, Green Zebra, Cherokee Purple, Germanhead, Kellogg's Breakfast, and Mister Stripey (AKA Tigerella).
It took me a few days to decide what to make with them! When I found a box of Arborio rice in the back of my pantry (hidden treasures!), I knew it was time to make risotto--especially since I have never made a tomato risotto. (Besides, I hadn't made risotto for a long while!)
When making this dish, I wanted the tomato flavor to stand out. I pureed the tomatoes with garlic and then heated them in a skillet. The heat helped bring out their flavor, and you could smell the tomato aroma! I used my normal "wine/chicken stock" technique when cooking the risotto rice. You could easily sub the wine for more chicken stock, but I'm always happy to open a bottle of wine in my house. For me, cooking with a glass of wine is just so relaxing, too! :) To help make the risotto creamy, I added in a little bit of fresh mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. The fresh basil and red pepper flakes made that tomato flavor pop!
This would make a good side dish, or you can enjoy it as a main course.
Yields 4 servings
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
2 tbsp. butter
3/4 cup white wine
2 cups chicken or vegetable broth/stock
16 oz. fresh tomatoes
2 large garlic cloves
1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan Reggiano cheese
1 oz. fresh mozzarella cheese
3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Fresh basil, to garnish
Red pepper flakes, if desired
Salt and pepper, to taste
Cut the tops of the tomatoes, and scoop out the flesh for each tomato (juices and seeds included) and place into a blender with the garlic cloves. Pulse until the mixture is lightly pureed with some chunks of tomatoes. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat, and add two tablespoons of the olive oil. Once hot, you can pour in the tomato puree. Add the Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, and a light sprinkle of salt and pepper, if desired. Bring it to a simmer, and then reduce the heat to medium-low.
In a medium saucepan, heat the butter over medium heat. Just as the butter starts to melt, add the rice. Cook and stir the rice frequently until it is well coated in the butter. Continue stirring the rice until it begins to turn golden brown. After the rice turns golden brown, add the wine and stir until completely absorbed (about 2-3 minutes). Once the rice has absorbed the wine, add the chicken stock in one cup increments, stirring until completely absorbed.
After the rice has absorbed all of the chicken stock, carefully transfer the tomato puree to the risotto pan. Stir the risotto constantly so that it will absorb the tomato liquid.
Once the risotto has absorbed the tomato liquid, remove the pan from the heat. Add in the cheeses and 1 tbsp. of olive oil. Garnish with fresh basil, and add any additional salt and pepper. Serve immediately.
Source: A Simply Sweet Justice original