The perfect way to enjoy the Summer’s best tomatoes and fresh basil. Makes a great meatless meal or side dish.
This easy and classic Tomato Basil risotto is one of my favourite ways to enjoy beautiful Summer tomatoes and fresh basil.
For me, I enjoy this risotto as a meatless main dish, which is in regular rotation. It also makes a great side-dish for just about anything you’ve got cooking on the BBQ.
A lovely loaf of fresh, crusty bread is a great addition to this simple, Summer meal.
Tomatoes: Find the best tomatoes you can. In the Summer, that’s easy. Looks for field-ripened tomatoes. Out of season, I like Roma tomatoes, for the best flavour. Note that you will need tomatoes for grating as well as additional fresh tomatoes for dicing and adding at the end. You can use whatever tomatoes you like here. I used a colourful medley or red, orange and yellow cherry tomatoes in mine.
Stock: Chicken stock a little strong with this delicate tomato risotto, so I always use vegetable stock. Use a brand that you enjoy the flavour of, as they do vary, but either buy full-salt vegetable stock or reduced salt and season the stock yourself on the stove-top as it warms. If you only have chicken stock, you can certainly use. Maybe water it down just slightly. Another option is to make your own vegetable stock, if you happen to have ingredients around and some extra time.
It’s best to start with 5 cups of stock. You may not need it all, but if you do, it’s nice to have it warm and handy. I’m mindful though that stock is often sold in 4 cup cartons. Rather than open a second one and risk wasting, just use the 4 cup carton and if you need a bit more liquid to finish cooking the rice, use a bit of warm water instead.
Wine: Use any dry white wine you like to drink. If you’d rather not use wine at all, simply replace with an equal amount of chicken stock and maybe a splash of white wine vinegar, for acidity.
Arborio Rice: Definitely use a risotto rice here. Arborio is nice, as is Carnaroli rice.
Parmesan Cheese: Freshly grated is best here. This simple dish is all about the best ingredients. Pecorino is a nice change, as well, if you like.
Basil: Again, go for the fresh basil here, if at all possible. It’s just the perfect accompaniment for the tomatoes.
Despite conventional wisdom, you do not have to stir risotto non-stop. I tend to let it simmer undisturbed right after I’ve stirred in more stock. As the stock starts to thin, I stir vigorously, until it’s time to add another spoonful.
Don’t forget to season! Generous seasoning with salt and pepper will really bring all the great flavours here together, so be sure to taste and adjust seasoning before dishing it out.
How to Grate Tomatoes: Cut the tomato in half at the equator. Cradle it with the skin against the palm of your hand and the flat side against the box grater and rub up and down on the coarse side of the grater. The skin will protect your hand.
More tomato recipes you might also like …
Tomato and Goat Cheese Tarts
Classic Tomato and Feta Salad
Tomato Bocconcini Flatbread
Get the Recipe: Tomato Basil Risotto
- 4-5 cups vegetable stock, or broth
- 1 1/2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1/3 cup onion, finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 10 oz tomatoes, grated *see notes, about 2 medium tomatoes
- 5 oz tomatoes, diced, about 1/2 cup
- Pinch sugar
- 1 cup Arborio rice, or Carnaroli
- 1/3 cup dry white wine
- Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 1/4 cup fresh basil, slivered
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- Heat the stock: Pour vegetable stock/broth into a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer over low heat. *Taste stock and add some salt and pepper, as needed, to season well. Have a ladle handy.
- In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and a bit of salt and cook, stirring, until onion is softened, 4-5 minutes. Add the rice and garlic and cook, stirring, for about 1 minute. Add the grated tomatoes, a pinch of sugar and a bit of salt and cook, stirring often, until the tomatoes have cooked down a bit and coated the rice, about 7-8 minutes. Add the wine and cook, stirring, until the wine has evaporated.
- Begin adding the stock, one ladleful at a time and cook, stirring regularly, until the stock is absorbed, before adding another ladleful. Repeat until all you only have about 1 ladle-full of stock left. Taste the rice to ensure it is cooked through but still chewy. *If not, add additional stock or warm water as needed, to finish cooking.
- Spoon in the final ladle of stock, the diced tomatoes, half the Parmesan and half the basil. Stir and cook about 1 minute. Remove from heat. Taste and add seasoning with salt and pepper, as needed.
- Serve warm, garnished with remaining Parmesan and basil.
Recipe adapted from a New York Times recipe
Wow! This was so delicious! I ate so much of it that I didn’t really leave room for the rest of our meal. The only adjustment my husband made to it was to scoop some out for me before adding the Parmesan because I hate cheese. Needless to say, we’ve added the recipe to our binder :)
So glad you enjoyed it, Alissa! A perfect time of year to have this one. Thanks!
Wow! Made this tonight for dinner and served with baked whitefish with a homemade peach salsa and green beans. Two thumbs up! My tomatoes were probably too big, so I didn’t need the full 4 cups of broth. It has a wonderful flavour. Next time I might serve with grilled scallops, and will try adding a few chili flakes for a bit of heat. 😋
So glad you enjoyed it, Julia :) Thanks so much!
Made this earlier in the week and fell in love. Was going to have mussels steamed on top but never got to it. Was too tired after a long day, guess risotto is not the best thing to do when you’re already tired. Just so glad I did. This risotto has jumped to the top of the list along with a mushroom risotto. Two of the most wonderful dishes in the world.
Next time I will weigh my tomatoes and then also measure the gratings. I did 1.5 beef tomatoes which I’m guessing was well over a cup and so I only needed the one box of broth. Came out perfect. Thank you Jennifer. I frequent a food forum and have linked so many of your recipes! So proud that you’re a fellow Canadian. ;) ;)
So glad you enjoyed it, Gwen :) Thanks!
A fabulous recipe. I especially like the flavour intensity created when you combine the subtlety of the simmered shredded tomatoes with the fresh flavour burst of the just warmed through diced ones. A great combination.
So glad you enjoyed it! It’s a favourite of mine :) Thanks!
Excellent flavour and easy to make. Great instructions.
So glad you enjoyed it, Elizabeth :) Thanks so much!
This is so timely! I had my first tomato risotto a couple weeks ago and have been surfing for a recipe ever since! I actually saved the NYT recipe, but I trust that you’ve improved upon it so I’ll just use yours. :) Love your recipes, by the way.
Thanks so much, Sherri :) My version is scaled down, as the NYT recipe made a ton of risotto (far more than we needed), but generally faithful to the original. The cooking of the rice in the bit of grated tomato used in the NYT version is a bit of genius and makes for a great tomato risotto.
Jennifer, I have to give you an update. Finally made this tonight with fresh beefsteak tomatoes from the farmers market. I have never (and I mean never) heard so many groans of delight from my husband during a meal. It is even more meaningful since he is not really a tomato fan! I served this with scallops and (obviously) it was a huge hit.
So glad to hear, Sherri! It’s one of my favourite risottos, that is good year round, too :)
I’m definitely a bit obsessed with tomatoes and basil lately, and this recipe sounds like a lovely way to enjoy them. As a food blogger, I’m a bit embarrassed to say that I’ve never cooked risotto, so I appreciate your tips! Happy Friday Jennifer!
Thanks Leanne :) Risotto is in regular rotation here, since you can make a risotto out of just about anything in the fridge and it’s always delicious!
This recipe really appeals to me. I love tomatoes and rice together and just haven’t found that many recipes to try. But I will be trying this one. It sounds fantastic and we’re loaded with homegrown tomatoes right now. Yummy!
Thanks Tricia! This is one of my favourite risottos. I think you will love it, too :)
Absolutely lovely! Perfect light dinner option for summer, along with a glass of Pinot Grigio, mmm! For once our basil is growing well this summer an I am excited to use it.
Thanks Milena and yes, I have a bumper crop of basil this year, too :) So nice to have it always on hand this time of year.
Risotto is one of my favorites – it’s just so creamy and dreamy! This summer version is absolute PERFECTION!!! I can’t get enough of the tomato and basil combination while they are fresh and in season, so this dish is totally happening in my kitchen! Cheers!
Thanks so much, Cheyanne and yes, now is the perfect time to enjoy this one :)
This dish has my name written all over it Jennifer! I absolutely love risotto and any excuse to add summer tomatoes and fresh basil to anything and I’m in!
Thanks Mary Ann and me, too! It’s such a great combination :)