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Saturday, January 14, 2012

Smoky Tomato Risotto

Lately, I've been dreaming of a creamy, satisfying plate of risotto.  I'm sure it has something to do with the thick blanket of snow outside, the perma-chill in my bones that I can't seem to shake, and the constant longing for a fireplace to cozy up beside.  Growing up we always seemed to have a fireplace either in our home or in the home of a family member (much like that cool, wet pool I long for in the summertime).  But, since we have yet to stumble upon our dream-home, I have to conjur up memories of fireplaces past.  I love the hiss that a log makes as the moisture longs for escape from the flames licking its edges.  And the pop of the superheated sap exploding.   And that comforting crackle that can lull me into submission.  I miss throwing in a pine cone or a cinnamon stick in order to catch a whiff of those scents of the season.

So, when I saw Natashya post an amazing looking Tomato Risotto that came from Apples for Jam by Tessa Kiros, I immediately knew that I was making it.  After pulling my much-loved copy of the book from the shelf, I resolved that while I was making it, I was entirely in the mood to shake it up a bit and add a smoky, warming twist by throwing in some smoked paprika, smoked mozzarella, and fire-roasted tomatoes.  So, while I may currently be without fireplace, I do have a deep, rich, creamy, smoky heap of risotto on a plate in front of me to keep me warm.

Fantastic as a (vegetarian) main dish, I think it would also fare well as a base to shrimp, chicken, or even a fried egg.  
Smoky Tomato Risotto

by Heather Schmitt-González
Prep Time: up to 30 minutes
Cook Time: ~30 minutes
Keywords: entree side vegetarian rice tomatoes Italian

Ingredients (serves 3-4)
    Quick Vegetable Broth
    • ½ onion, peeled & halved
    • 1 carrot, broken in chunks
    • ½ celery stalk, broken in chunks
    • 2 garlic cloves, smashed
    • 1 small tomato, halved
    • a few stalks of parsley
    • 5 c. water
    • sea salt
    • 4 Tbs. olive oil
    • ½ onion, finely chopped
    • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
    • pinch of crushed red chile flakes
    • 1 c. arborio rice
    • 1 c. fire-roasted tomatoes, pureed (~1/2 14 oz. can)
    • ~3 c. Quick Vegetable Broth (or vegetable stock)
    • 1 Tbs. smoked paprika
    • few sprigs of fresh basil, torn
    • ¼ c. freshly grated Parmesan
    • ⅔ c. smoked Mozzarella, shredded or diced small
    to serve
    • olive oil
    • freshly grated Parmesan
    • freshly ground black pepper
    Quick Vegetable Broth (If you have vegetable stock, you can skip this step and just warm up your stock in a pan on the back of the stove.)
    Put the veggies and herbs in a pot with the water and season with some salt. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to a gentle simmer. Let cook about 30 minutes. Keep warm over lowest heat possible.

    Making the Risotto
    Heat the olive oil in a wide, heavy-bottomed pan. Saute the onion and garlic over medium-low heat for a few minutes, until they've just started to soften. Add rice and crushed red chile. Continue to cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, for a few more minutes. All of the grains of rice should be coated and milky-looking.

    Stir in the smoked paprika, half of the basil, and half of the tomato puree. Add in a ladle of warm stock. Continue stirring and adding in a ladle full of the broth at a time until the rice has just absorbed it...and then adding another. After ten minutes of doing this, add in the remaining tomato puree. Continue with remaining broth (up to ~3 cups). This process should take a total of about 20 minutes.

    Test the rice. It should still feel somewhat firm (al dente), but also smooth and creamy. If it still feels hard, add in another ladle full of stock and cook down, stirring. When rice is al dente, turn off the heat and stir in both cheeses and the remaining basil.

    Serve warm, drizzled with more olive oil and sprinkled with more Parmesan. Grate some black pepper over, if you wish. Enjoy!

    If you would like to remove the garlic cloves, do so just before stirring in the cheese. Personally, I leave them's like a bonus if you get one on your plate!
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    Would you like to comment?

    1. ThemadscientistskitchenJanuary 14, 2012 at 9:46 AM

      This is something we will enjoy.

    2. Yum--looks delicious!

    3. I adore risotto -- either made your way or in the pressure cooker. I love the idea of a smoky version. Like you said, how warming and comforting on a winter's night.

    4. Caite@a lovely shore breezeJanuary 14, 2012 at 10:10 AM

      is it just me, or is the rice quantity missing from that recipe?
      It could be me...I have not had my tea yet...

    5. This sounds lovely! Too bad that we can't get smoky tomatoes and mozzarella over here. I think the only thing we can get smoked is BBQ sauce. But it looks so appetizing and comforting. 

    6. This just warmed up to my the very cockles of my bones. You start with the word "smokey" and end with "risotto" and I am at your dinner table.

    7. That looks so warm and comforting! All it needs is some extra cheese to be a fabulous meal.

    8. Oh this looks so good! I must make this soon! 

    9. awesome it


    10. I don't see the rice quantity either, and I want to make this!

    11. Ha ha ha...oh my gosh!  I made the same thing with plans to turn it into her fried risotto balls.  I made the mistake of testing the risotto which turned into eating a bowl and then eating yet another bowl.  I'm hoping I have enough left over to make the fried balls.  This was a damn fine bowl of risotto and yours looks delicious.  I love the spin you put on it!

    12. I've always been nervous to tackle risotto, but wow, this looks incredible and will be worth the try. Yum!

    13. Oh I have not had risotto in months. I must remedy this quick.  yum!

    14. My husband and I love risotto- this looks like a good one to make. Thanks for sharing!

    15. I thought Natashya's rendition was the bee's knees, but smoked is always better in my opinion.  Ironic since I'm so anti smokING.  But whatevs.  Smoked foodstuffs make all things more delicious.

    16. Yummy sounding recipe Heather. This was also a good reminder to me to use my own vegetable stock more often. I'll have to pick up the fire-roasted tomatoes and smoked mozzarella, but I'm making this one. 

    17. This looks good. I would really like this recipe because I like anything tomatoe-based.

    18. This sounds wonderful. I love all the smoky touches in your version. I've tried risotto in the past and found it too rich and starchy to fit well with my other foods, but this tomato version alongside a salad would be everything I want in a cozy winter meal. 

    19. Making risotto has always been an exericse in patience for me; that's why I tend to order it when I'm out.  This looks yummy -- particularly now that our weather is turning frigid.

    20. Awesome, Kim.  I toyed with the idea of turning it into fried balls, too...but I didn't want to leave any cheese out. I couldn't bear it ;) ...yes, even though I would've added some in.  Next time, though! I hope you make them so I can take a virtual bite!

    21. I like this risotto, it has the flavors I like.  I might sneak a chipotle in there too for a little more smokiness but it sounds great.

    22. Only one word to describe this risotto -- YUMMO!

    23. I could eat this three times a day!! I've never even tried to make risotto, but this is VERY tempting, it looks delicious.

    24. That's it...I have to make this one,  you are all driving me nuts with the risottos this week. Gorgeous photos of it!

    25. The smoky flavors you infused into this sound incredibly warming and delicious! I am in risotto love.

    26. Gorgeous, looks and sounds delish!

    27. it almost looks like pasta! this risotto seems delicious

    28. I have to make this! Wow! I once tried making a tomato risotto - I love risotto and make one often - but I wasn't convinced with what I came up with finding it a tad bland. Yours stunning, smoky, cheesy version sounds fabulous and just what we need now that the weather has finally turned respectfully wintery cold.

    29. I love a wood burning fireplace too - there's nothing like it. This is definitely the perfect recipe for curling up with though, fireplace or not! I love the wonderful smokey tomato flavours you have used, and that quick vegetable broth is wonderful. I didn't realise you could make vegetable broth without hours of simmering - it's going to change the way I cook!!  Thank you so much for sharing this post with the Gallery of Favorites. 

    30. Natashya Kitchen PuppiesJanuary 15, 2012 at 9:16 AM

      Wow, what a great idea to make it smoky! Looks absolutely delicious.

    31. Mmmmm...good idea.

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    32. Looks like you got an awesome texture--creamy and perfect.  Love that color!  I've had my eye on this one (I know...I say that about all the TK recipes I see).  All of your smoky additions sound great.

    33. I can't remember when I had risotto last. It looks delicious!
      Here's Mine

    34. No snow round here - just day after day of glorious sunshine, but risotto still turns up in my kitchen on a regular basis.  It's one of my favourite foods, and one of those things I can whip up with my eyes closed - something I can make at the drop of a hat out of whatever happens to be lurking in the cupboards.  Definitely want to give this one a try, and I love the "smoky" changes you made to this recipe.

    35. I love risotto. Have to try this one, it looks amazing!

    36. I love how you made this smoky. It makes it even better in my book. What a plate of creamy, smoky goodness! ;-)

    37. My last house had a fireplace and I miss it so! This is an incredible risotto recipe, lovely flavors :)

    38. Looks great and so  full of colour.

    39. This weather brings out the risotto lovers and I have to say I am on of them. The smoked paprika and the roasted tomatoes not only gives this a great color but I can imagine an amazing burst of flavor. Really lovely Heather.

    40. I love the flavor that smoked paprika adds to dishes. Your risooto looks divine! Thank for sharing it with the Gallery.