tomato risotto in bowl with basil and parmesan

Tomato Basil Risotto

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.

tomato risotto in bowl with basil and parmesan

Ingredient Notes for Tomato Basil Risotto

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.

tomato risotto in bowl with basil and parmesan

Cook’s Notes for Tomato Basil Risotto

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 Recipe You Might Like …

Tomato and Goat Cheese Tarts
Classic Tomato and Feta Salad
Tomato Bocconcini Flatbread

tomato risotto in bowl with basil and parmesan

tomato risotto in bowl with basil and parmesan

Tomato Basil Risotto

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Canadian
Keyword: taomto risotto recipe
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 3 minutes
Total Time: 13 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Energy: 360 kcal
Author: Jennifer

Enjoy the best of Summer's fresh tomatoes and basil with this lovely 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


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

  5. Serve warm, garnished with remaining Parmesan and basil.

Recipe Notes

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.

Be sure to read the “Ingredient and Cook's Notes" (above the recipe card!), where I share more detailed tips, variations and substitution suggestions for this recipe!

Recipe adapted from a New York Times recipe

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  • Hi Jennifer,

    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.

  • 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!

  • 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!

  • 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!

I love hearing from you, so if you have a question or something isn't quite clear, I'm happy to help. If you made this recipe, I'd love to know how you liked it ~ Jennifer

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