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. Like my other risotto recipes, this quick and easy dish can in fact be made without that constant stirring arm workout.
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.
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).
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!