I’d like to believe I’ve come a long way since my first botched attempt at risotto. If there’s one nugget of wisdom cooking school has given me (actually I’ve learned so much in three months!), it’s how to cook risotto the right way. It’s actually a simple process, albeit a little meticulous. Tasting the rice via random sampling to make sure everything is cooked al dente is essential. But it can be done. I don’t think I’ll botch it ever again.
I never realized we had a box of arborio sitting in the pantry here at home until we used the exact same stuff in school for our kitchen lab. Hey, everything was in Italian and I was too lazy to google a translation so I never attempted to use the stuff. I’ve been known to buy and keep a lot of useless stuff, or things that I only use once. Fortunately, that isn’t the case with the arborio.
I hit two birds with one stone today. Roasted tomatoes are a treat: sweet and tart and definitely great. I had it with pasta once and it was a home run. Today I had it with risotto and of course, another home run. Roasted garlic and tomatoes add a nice depth of flavor to the risotto, and finishing it off with parmesan is the icing on the proverbial cake. This plate of risotto will accompany a savory meat dish (preferably beef) pretty well but today I just had it as it is and I’m not complaining. It doesn’t take much to make me happy, especially when I’m given a plate of something as good as this. I had it with ice-cold coconut water, and oh man, that worked for me. It really works.
Roasted Garlic and Tomato Risotto (serves 2)
- 1 cup arborio rice
- 2 – 4 cups warm chicken stock
- half an onion, minced
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for the tomatoes and garlic
- 1 garlic bulb, top part sliced open
- 5 tomatoes, halved
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
- salt and pepper to taste
- fresh basil, chopped, for garnishing
- Preheat oven to 180 C/ 350 F. Arrange the garlic bulb and tomatoes in a pan (optional: with a silicone mat). Drizzle generously with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
- Place it in the oven and allow to bake for 45 minutes – 1 hour, or until tomatoes are shriveled at the sides and the garlic has softened. When done, remove from the oven.
- Remove the garlic from their skins and mash with a fork. Reserve around three pieces of roasted tomato for garnish if desired.
- In a pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and allow to sweat. Add the rice and mix well to coat everything with the oil.
- Add the stock one ladle (around one cup) at a time. Allow the rice to partially absorb the liquid before adding in the next ladle. Stir everything together with a rubber spatula. Repeat the process until the rice is cooked to desired doneness (al dente).
- Add the garlic and tomatoes. Mash the tomatoes and mix everything together. Add the parmesan. Stir and season with salt and pepper. The risotto must still be creamy.
- When done, remove from heat and top with more parmesan, the roasted tomatoes and the chopped basil. Serve warm. Enjoy!