How to make a simple tomato risotto
Ingredients (for a 2-person meal or a 4-person ‘Primo’ – first course – or light meal)
- 300g Italian rice (e.g. Arborio)
- 1 medium-large onion, finely chopped
- 50g lightly salted butter, plus an extra knob of butter to add at the end
- 1tbsp sundried tomato purée
- 1tbsp olive oil (optional)
- 300ml tomato passata
- TIP: If you prefer your risotto to be less strong on the tomato flavour, use less passata but compensate by using more stock
- 700ml vegetable stock (If you’re not feeding vegetarians, use chicken stock instead – either home made or made with stock cubes, as it gives the risotto more depth of flavour)
- Salt, to taste/if needed…check towards the end of cooking time for the risotto
- Grated parmesan, approx. 2tbsp plus enough for each person to sprinkle on their own portion
TIP: Quantities of tomato passata and vegetable stock can be adjusted, as described above, to suit different tastes; in any case, the actual quantity of stock used will depend on a number of factors: the exact rice used, the ambient humidity, the temperature you’re cooking at, etc. As long as you add the stock a little bit at a time and don’t add any more until all the liquid has been absorbed, you will be fine.
Melt the butter and oil in a non-stick saucepan or stockpot, on a low heat.
Add the finely chopped onion and soften, still on a low heat, until translucent (this should take a couple of minutes), then stir in the sundried tomato purée.
Add the rice and stir it in for up to a minute, to allow the flavours to infuse the rice grains.
Add the passata and stir.
Cook on a low heat, stirring regularly but gently (don’t over-stir as you may break the rice grains) until the passata has almost completely absorbed into the rice, then add a small amount of stock (50-100ml at a time, at most).
Continue to cook on a low heat, stirring regularly to make sure the risotto doesn’t stick/burn to the base of the pan, until the stock has almost completely absorbed into the rice, then add another small amount of stock.
Repeat this process until the rice is cooked; this can take up to 40 mins (check cooking times on the pack of rice), but it will depend on lots of factors, so let your eyes and taste-buds guide you: you need the rice to be a sticky, thick risotto. The rice needs to be soft but still have a distinct rice-like and slightly ‘al dente’ consistency (i.e. not have disintegrated/turned mushy).
Stir a knob of butter in at the end of the cooking time, along with a couple of tablespoons of grated parmesan. Serve immediately and provide additional grated parmesan to be sprinkled onto each individual portion.
TIP: If you use the risotto as an ingredient in Supplì, you will need it to be drier than it would be if you were eating it on its own. Also, in that case, do not add the final knob of butter or the parmesan.