Friday, September 2, 2011

Champagne Risotto with Yellow Tomatoes: vegetarian comfort food

Risotto is the sophisticate's comfort food. Here I've dressed up the basic dish with Prosecco and yellow cherry tomatoes. I served this creamy, subtly sweet risotto with sauteed summer vegetables and an heirloom tomato salad. Paired with a glass of leftover bubbly, this was a satisfying vegetarian meal.


1 quart vegetable or chicken broth
1 cup sparkling white wine
3 tbsp butter
2 large shallots, finely diced
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup parmesan, finely grated, plus 2 tbsp shavings to serve
1 tbsp olive oil
20 yellow cherry tomatoes
2 sprigs thyme plus additional for garnish
salt and pepper


1.  Add the broth and wine to a pan and simmer over medium heat.

2.  Melt 2 tbsp butter in a saucepan over medium heat.  Saute the shallots and garlic until soft but not brown, about 4 minutes.

3.  Add the rice and cook for about 1 minute, stirring constantly.

4.  Add a ladleful of the broth mixture and stir until it is absorbed.  Repeat.  Add one ladleful at a time and stir constantly until absorbed, then add the next ladleful.  This should take about 15-20 minutes total.  Note:  Risotto is a high maintenance diva, requiring constant attention and patience.  Don't neglect stirring or it will not turn out right.

5. Turn off the heat.  Add 1 tbsp cold butter and the grated parmesan, stirring to fully incorporate.  Cover and set aside.

6.  In a small fry pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the tomatoes, thyme, salt and pepper and saute for about 3-4 minutes, until tomatoes are soft and just starting to split.

7.  Serve the risotto topped with tomatoes and parmesan shavings, and garnish with a sprig of fresh thyme.

I also created a small heirloom tomato and basil salad, drizzled with basalmic vinegar and a little olive oil.

Buon appetito!

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