SP and I have been alternating cooking Sunday dinner for my parents. He tends to lean towards Italian dishes but even so, I was pretty surprised when he told me he wanted to make Tomato and Mozzarella Risotto. He's made it clear to me in the past that he isn't a fan of one of my all-time favorite dishes. Apparently I was just putting too many "weird" ingredients in my risottos of the past. Who knew?
This was truly outstanding. SP did a great job cooking the rice to perfection. He used some of the tomatoes my mom and I canned over the summer instead of the cherry tomatoes in the original recipe, as well as some of the fresh basil I froze when my basil plant was thriving. It was great to throw in those cubes of basil leaves and smell that summery aroma.
He made one and a half recipes (rather than doubling the recipe) for 4 adults and 1 child and there was barely enough leftover for lunches the next day. And that was with salad and bread on the side. It's just so good we all kept going back for more.
Tomato and Mozzarella Risotto
Recipe from Lidia Bastianich
4 1/2 cups hot chicken broth
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, sliced
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
1 medium onion, minced, (about 3/4 cup)
1 medium leek, white parts only, trimmed, cleaned, and chopped
6 scallions , trimmed, white and green parts chopped separately
2 cups arborio rice
1/3 cup dry white wine
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups fresh mozzarella
1/3 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, freshly grated
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
Pour the stock into a 2 quart saucepan and keep it hot over low heat.
Heat 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil in a wide skillet over medium heat. Add 2 cloves garlic, sliced, and shake the pan until the garlic is lightly browned. Slide in 2 cups halved cherry tomatoes and stir gently until they are juicy. Toss in a handful of shredded fresh basil, remove the pan from the heat, and set aside.
Heat the remaining olive oil in a wide 3 to 4-quart Dutch oven over medium heat. Stir in the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 4 minutes. Stir in the leek and white parts of the scallions and cook, stirring, until the onion is golden, about 6 minutes. Adjust the heat under the pan as the onion browns so that it cooks slowly with gentle bubbling.
Stir in the rice and continue stirring until the grains are coated with oil and toasted, the edges become translucent, about 1 to 2 minutes. Pour in the wine and let it boil, stirring the rice, until evaporated.
Season the rice with salt and ladle enough of the hot stock into the pan to barely cover the rice. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat so the stock is at a lively simmer. Cook, stirring constantly, until all the stock has been absorbed and you can see the bottom of the pan when you stir. Continue cooking, pouring in the remaining hot stock in small batches - each additional should be just enough to completely moisten the rice - and cook until each batch of stock had been absorbed. Stir constantly until the rice mixture is creamy but al dente, this will take 16 to 20 minutes from the time the wine was added. Stir in the sauteed cherry tomatoes halfway through cooking.
Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in half the grated cheese, taste the risotto, and add salt, if necessary, and pepper. Stir in 1 1/2 cups of cubed fresh mozzarella (preferably mozzarella di bufala) along with the grated cheese and butter. Stir in butter and green parts of the scallion until the butter is completely melted.
Ladle risotto into warm, shallow bowls and serve immediately after finishing.