This tomato and basil risotto is 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.
Get the Recipe: Tomato Basil Risotto
- 4-5 cups vegetable stock, or broth
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons 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.
Hi! I’m Jennifer, a home cook schooled by trial and error and almost 40 years of getting dinner on the table! I love to share my favourite recipes, both old and new, together with lots of tips and tricks to hopefully help make your home cooking enjoyable, stress free, rewarding and of course, delicious!