Creamy Tomato Risotto. The end. Seriously though I made this thinking it was going to be pretty good, maybe a throw in in my risotto collection. It was unexpectedly one of the best risottos I’ve ever had. This creamy and indulgent risotto celebrates the deep rich flavor of tomatoes. With notes of nutty Parmesan and rich heavy cream its hard to comprehend how something so delicious could be made up of mostly pantry ingredients. Like my other risotto recipes, this quick and easy dish can in fact be made without that constant stirring arm workout.
Tomato Paste… The Unsung Hero
I am just going to say it. Tomato paste is the unsung hero of canned tomatoes. Actually this risotto can’t come together without it. Now if you are shaking your head or disagreeing with me because you frankly don’t like tomato paste, have you tried cooking it down first? To get its full potential tomato paste needs to be toasted and cooked down. Not for a minute or two, but until it’s deep dark red almost brown. The result? Deep umami flavor naturally found in tomatoes. Whether it’s this recipe or another cook the tomato paste first. Trust me it will make a difference.
Tomato paste is added here after the garlic and onions cook down and toasted for approx. 7-10 minutes on low heat until deep deep red. Don’t worry about burning the onions and garlic. Coated in the tomato paste they shouldn’t brown or burn as long as you don’t leave it unattended. While this is an easier approach to risotto, this version needs a little more love than the others. I know I say risotto does not need be constantly mixed, and trust me you will not get a work out with this recipe. However, i found that the arborio rice after toasted in the tomato paste did tend to stick to the pan more after the broth was added. Just give it a few more stirs here and there and you will be fine.
What You’ll Need for Creamy Tomato Risotto
- Aborio Rice – Carnaroli is also a great rice to use, however harder to come by.
- Broth – I used chicken broth, but feel free to use vegtable. If you choose a low sodium broth keep in mind you are going to have to salt more while it is cooking. Because this dish is so simple and the base is tomato paste it needs the salt.
- Dry White Wine – Good rule of thumb, cook with a nice dry white wine you would drink. Unfortunately cooking wine is a no no for this recipe.
- Garlic – Fresh only!
- Tomato Paste – 3 tbsp! If you are wondering what you can make with the other half of the can i got you. Check out Spicy Vodka Rigatoni , Miso Chipotle Pasta , or Creamy Sun Dried Tomato Orzo
- Parmesan Cheese – Freshly grated.
- Heavy Cream – I received a call out on IG about using heavy cream in my Creamy Lemon Parmesan Risotto, since risotto should be creamy on its own. They weren’t wrong, however this risotto and all the risottos on this site are creamy on their own. Heavy cream is added here not to make this dish creamy, but to add fat and flavor, the additional creaminess is just extra.
Step by Step
If you already know how to make risotto, skip ahead and read the recipe or even better make it! If you only know how to make risotto by constantly stirring read below. I will say this in every risotto post i put up, you do not need to constantly stir! In fact if you over stir, your risotto can and will get gluey.
Sauté the base – Add butter or olive oil to a wide pot or pan on low heat. Sauté the onions, garlic, shallots, whatever the base might be. This is also the place to cook down heartier vegetables.
Toast the risotto – Add the dry not washed rice to the pan and toast it for 3-5 minutes until grains start to become translucent. I can not stress enough do not wash the rice beforehand, this will completely strip the rice of the starches it needs to make this dish super creamy.
Add wine or broth – If adding wine (optional in some recipes) deglaze the pan and cook for another 2-3 minutes until the alcohol cooks off. Have your broth in a sauce pan on the stove to stay warm. When you are ready add the broth, but not all at once! For every cup of risotto you need approx 4 cups of broth. Have extra on hand! I found with different brands of arborio rice I needed + or – a cup. Depending on your pan this might be split into 3 or 4 rounds. My rule of thumb is to pour just enough broth to cover the risotto.
Mix, Add, Shake – Mix 2-3 times per broth add. If you end up mixing more, no biggie! Also give the pan a mix or a shake midway to ensure the rice isn’t sticking to the bottom. Once the broth has mostly absorbed add more broth until all broth has been used.
Final Adds – In the last few minutes add the cheese, cream, and more delicate vegetables or precooked protein (ie. lobster or crab).
A Few Tips for Creamy Tomato Risotto
Always have extra broth on hand, as I mention above i have found that different brands of rice require + or – broth. This creamy tomato risotto recipe took 4 1/2 cups of broth. Risotto should be creamy, and loose. The rice should not be mushy, but shouldn’t be crunchy either. If it is crunchy add more broth and keep cooking.
If you are looking for storing and reheating instructions I can’t give you them. Risotto needs to go from the pan to the plate without passing go and collecting 200. Trust me as someone who has now shot several risottos, the life span is short. Enjoy this hot. It will firm up more the longer it sits, and while still delicious it won’t be the same.
Cant get enough of this creamy carb? Then check out my other risottos bellow!
Creamy Tomato Risotto
- 3 tbsp butter
- 5 cloves garlic minced
- 1 shallot minced
- 3 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 cup arborio rice
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 4 1/2 cups broth chicken or vegtable
- 1 cup Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- Warm the broth separately on the stove.
- In a wide pot on medium-low heat melt the butter. Once melted add shallots, garlic and a 1/2 tsp of salt. Sweat and cook down for 3-5 minutes until fragrant and soft.
- Once sweated out add tomato pasted and mix to combine. Toast tomato paste for 7-10 minutes until color has deepened. Mix every few seconds to ensure it doesn't burn.
- Add arborio rice and mix to combine. Toast rice for 3-4 minutes.
- Add the wine and stir. Cook for 2-3 minutes before adding the first round of broth. Depending on the pan add broth until it just covers the risotto. (could be 1 cup to 1 1/2 cups). Give it a quick mix, a shake of the pan to ensure all grains are covered and cook until rice absorbs the majority of the broth. Mix every few minutes to avoid the rice from sticking.
- Add more broth and repeat above steps.
- Once all broth has been added, but not completely absorbed (15-18 minutes of cooking) give it a taste. Rice should still be loose, yet al dente. If it is still hard add more broth 1/4 cup at a time and cook down. Add the Parmesan cheese and heavy cream. Mix to incorporate. Serve immediately.