November 22, 2021

Tomato Risotto

Tomato Risotto

Risotto is one of those dishes that bring you so much comfort when eating and feels fancy at the same time. It's great for a family meal, a date night or when you're just looking to spice up your traditional pasta night.

This tomato risotto does not disappoint! It's creamy, fresh, cheesy and has so much tomato flavor throughout.

What is risotto?

Risotto, much to everyone’s surprise, is not a type of rice or a rice dish at all. Risotto is actually the term used to describe the cooking technique or procedure, not unlike how pilaf is used to describe a rice dish. Did we just shock you with that?

Risotto is an Italian term that refers to a dish that is cooked with a liquid and stirred constantly until it is tender and has a creamy consistency.

Ingredients for tomato risotto

If you're familiar with risotto, you'll know that traditionally arborio rice is used. This is because the short-grain rice is perfect for the dish. It has high amounts of starch which are necessary to achieve the creamy consistency risotto is famous for. While you could also use other short-grain rice such as carnaroli we use arborio given its popularity and how easy it is to find it at the store.

What makes this tomato risotto so, well, tomato-y is the fact that we use both roasted tomato paste and cooked stewed tomatoes in the risotto when cooking and then, we top it off with fresh, local tomatoes. If you're a tomato fan, this recipe is definitely for you! In addition to the ingredients above and a few others, we love to garnish the tomato risotto with:

  • Fresh pesto
  • Fresh tomatoes
  • Grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Garlic confit oil
  • Toasted pine nuts

That might seem like a lot of garnishes but trust us! They bring so much complexity to the dish.

Tips for making the creamiest tomato risotto

  • Use a big enough pot: When cooking risotto, it is important to use a pot that is wide enough so that the rice cooks in a single layer. If the pot is not wide enough, the rice will stack on each other and the heat, coming from the bottom, will cook the rice at an uneven rate which will lead to some of the rice being undercooked and crunchy while other kernels are soft and mushy.
  • Make sure your stock is heated: If the stock is not hot, you are essentially doubling your cooking time because you will have to heat the added stock each time in order to continuing the cooking process. It would be like starting with ice when boiling water.
  • Sweating and toasting: To start, you want to first sweat your vegetables. For this recipe, we sweat only the onions first. Once the onions are cooked, you add the garlic confit and toast lightly to awaken the garlic flavor. Then add the rice, toasting to bring out an almost nutty flavor.
  • Using tomato paste: Once the rice has been toasted you want to add the tomato paste and cook lightly to almost caramelize the paste to pull out a subtly sweet flavor and to get rid of the metallic flavor often found in raw tomato paste. When the paste starts to build on the bottom of the pot, deglaze with wine and reduce.
  • Adding fresh tomatoes: Finally add the fresh tomatoes, cook to reduce the liquid that seeps from the tomatoes and then begin adding the hot stock while stirring, using a wooden spoon.
  • Using a wooden spoon: Using the wooden spoon is important because it is sturdy enough to rough up the rice and release the starches but will not scrap against the metal pot and release a metallic flavor like using a metal spoon.

We hope you enjoy this tomato risotto! It makes for a great date night dish.

Cheers and eat well!

Tomato Risotto

A creamy and cheesy tomato risotto that has different dimensions of tomato flavor throughout. It feels like summer in a dish, but one that can be enjoyed any time of the year!















To make the risotto

  • 1 ½ cups of arborio rice
  • 1 large yellow onion (peeled and small diced)
  • 6 cloves garlic confit (or 4 cloves chopped raw garlic)
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • ½ cup grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese
  • 4 tablespoons butter (diced)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme (picked)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil (chiffonade)
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup diced fresh tomatoes
  • ½ cup red wine
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste

To garnish the tomato risotto (all optional)


  1. Peel and dice the yellow onion, dice the butter, cut the tomatoes, and pick and chop the herbs. Refrigerate the butter in the meantime.
  2. Put the vegetable stock in a pot and bring to a simmer.
  3. In the meantime, put a large heavy-bottomed pot with a lot of surface area on the stove and turn on the high heat.
  4. Once hot, add about 1 tablespoon of cooking oil, followed by the diced onions. Season with salt and continue to cook on medium heat until they start to become translucent (about 4-5 minutes).
  5. When the onions start to become translucent, add the garlic confit and toast on low heat for about 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly.
  6. After the 1-2 minutes, add the red pepper flakes, followed by the arborio rice.
  7. Toast the rice, stirring every 10 seconds or so, for about 2 minutes. Do not let the rice stick to the pot.
  8. Add the tomato paste and stir to coat the rice. Continue cooking for about 1-2 minutes or until the tomato paste starts to stick to the bottom of the pot.
  9. Immediately deglaze with the red wine. Stir everything to ensure nothing is sticking to the bottom of the pot. Continue to cook the wine, while stirring constantly, until the wine is almost fully evaporated.
  10. Add the diced fresh tomatoes and season with salt. Continue to stir and cook on medium heat until the liquid from the tomatoes is fully evaporated.
  11. At this point, using a ladle, add about 1 cup of your hot vegetable stock to the risotto, stirring to incorporate.
  12. Continue stirring, while cooking on medium heat, until the liquid has almost evaporated.
  13. Repeat the process with 1 more cup of vegetable stock and once the liquid is once again evaporated, repeat the process with the last of the hot vegetable stock.
  14. This time, as the stock nears full evaporation, taste a bit of the rice and check the doneness. The rice should have just a small amount of bite to it but should not be crunchy. Think al dente pasta. If the rice has reached the correct doneness and there is a small amount of liquid remaining in the rice, turn off the heat, add the cold butter and stir to combine, melting the butter into the rice.
  15. When all the butter is combined, add the parmigiano-reggiano cheese and the herbs from earlier. Stir to combine.
  16. Check the seasoning of the rice and adjust accordingly using salt, pepper and lemon juice.
  17. To serve, spoon a healthy portion of rice into the center of your bowl/plate and top with freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese and a combination of any of the optional garnishes listed above. Enjoy!


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