How to make tomato risotto.

  • The secret to making a good tomato risotto is to add your hot stock very gradually, stirring to make sure it has all been absorbed before adding the next ladleful.
  • This way you can control the consistency better and ensure the rice still has a slight bite to it – al dente, as the Italians call it- when you take it off the heat.
  • This classic risotto just needs a garnish of rocket or baby spinach. For a British twist, use spelt barley instead of rice- it has a lovely nutty flavour.

INGREDIENTS FOR 4 SERVINGS AS A STARTER OR 2 SERVINGS AS A MAIN COURSE.

3 tbsp olive oil

200g risotto rice

500ml chicken or vegetable stock

50g unsalted butter

250g cherry tomatoes, halved

100g mascarpone cheese

25g Parmesan cheese, grated

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste.

INSTRUCTIONS FOR TOMATO RISOTTO.

  1. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat, add the rice and stir well to coat the grains in the oil. Bring the vegetable stock to the boil and add 1 ladleful of it at a time to the rice, stirring well after each addition, until the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is cooked, but still al dente. (This will take about 15-20 minutes.)
  2. Meanwhile, heat the butter in a small saucepan, add the tomatoes and gently cook for about 10 minutes until soft. Pass through a mouli or coarse sieve; alternatively, mash with a potato masher.
  3. When the rice is cooked, fold in the mascarpone cheese, Parmesan and tomato mixture, adjust the seasoning and serve.

Enjoy your meal, top with basil if desire.

HOW TO SERVE RISOTTO AS CAKE.

To remove the need for last-minute stirring, you can serve risotto as a cake. Make the risotto in advance, making it slightly beyond the al dente stage (about 20 minutes), then add the mascarpone, Parmesan and tomato. Spread the mixture out in a square tin lined with greaseproof paper, cover and chill for 2-4 hours. When ready to serve, heat 50g butter in a large frying pan. Cut the risotto cake into 4 squares and quickly pan-fry for about 3 minutes on each side until golden, taking care when you flip them over. Serve immediately.