Summer Tomato Risotto with juicy vine-ripened tomatoes, and infused with saffron, can be served as a vegetarian main or side dish, or topped off with smoky shrimp.
- 1 lb cherry or grape tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 white or yellow onion, diced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4–6 cloves garlic, rough chopped
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme (or 1 tablespoon fresh)
- 1 1/2 cups arborio rice or Spanish short-grain rice
- pinch saffron
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 6–8 cups veggie stock or chicken stock, warmed
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan
Garnishes: Italian parsley (or basil), lemon zest, and chili flakes
Seared Prawns (optional, see notes)
- BLISTER TOMATOES In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add tomatoes (whole) and sear, stirring occasionally, until they burst and soften, about 7 minutes. Turn heat off. Chop if extra-large.
- MAKE RISOTTO: At the same time, in a large heavy-bottomed pot or dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat and add the onions. Saute until golden about 10-12 minutes. Add garlic and thyme, saute 2 more minutes until fragrant.
- Add the rice, saute 1 minute, stirring. Add 2 cups warm stock (enough to cover the rice), saffron and smoked paprika, stir and bring to a simmer. Simmer until most of the liquid is absorbed. Add 1 cup broth and the tomatoes and all their juices. Stir until all the liquid is absorbed. Continue adding broth 1 cup at a time, letting the rice absorb it slowly, stirring often over med-low heat, until the rice is plumped, slightly al dente, yet creamy, about 20-25 minutes. You may not need all 8 cups. ( I used 6 3/4).
- Stir in the butter and parmesan. Season generously with salt, pepper, and optional chili flakes. Taste, adjust salt. If bland, it probably needs more salt.
- Serve as a flavorful side or vegetarian main, garnishing with fresh parsley and lemon zest.
Optional Seared Prawns:
- If adding the prawns, mix spices and salt in a bowl. Coat shrimp with the spices. Heat 2-3 tablespoons oil in a skillet (you may need to do this in batches) over medium-high heat, sear each side 2-3 minutes or until cooked through. Top the risotto with the seared prawns.
Feel free to sub white fish (halibut, cod, sea bass, black cod, etc.) or scallops for the shrimp. Sometimes I’ll add whole cumin seeds to the rub for extra texture.
Serves 4 as a main, or 8 as a side dish.
Keywords: tomato risotto, vegetarian risotto, shrimp risotto,