Nothing is more comforting or more delicious than this tomato basil risotto. Sweet cherry tomatoes are cooked down with olive oil, onions, garlic, and crushed red pepper, then blended until smooth with lots of fresh basil. This rich, vibrant mixture is used to cook the rice. White wine, butter, and lots of parmesan cheese are added in as well. The result is a risotto with intoxicating tomato flavor and a creamy, silky-smooth texture.
Fall is officially here, and what better way to kick off the cozy season than with a big bowl of risotto?!
One of my most popular recipes last fall was this pumpkin risotto with bacon & parmesan. And while making that should definitely be on your to-do lists in the coming weeks, we’ve still got plenty of September tomatoes left to enjoy, so I’d say it’s the perfect time for this tomato basil version.
tomato basil risotto – the details
For this recipe, I basically took my pumpkin risotto recipe and swapped the pumpkin puree for homemade tomato puree. It’s made by cooking onions, sweet cherry tomatoes, garlic, and crushed red pepper in olive oil until the mixture is softened and slightly caramelized. This process breaks the tomatoes down and makes them extra rich and intense in tomato flavor.
You’ll blend all of that up after just about 25 minutes on the stove with lots of fragrant fresh basil. This puree mixture is then whisked into warm chicken (or vegetable) stock and used to cook the risotto.
A little white wine adds a bright acidity. While the finishing touches of butter and parmesan cheese add creaminess (plus all of that delicious parm flavor).
The key with risotto is to try your best not to overcook it. When you remove it from the stove, the rice should be tender to the bite, but it shouldn’t be super thick and clumpy. You want a little bit of “sauciness” to it so that as it cools down it remains luscious and creamy.
Top it off with more basil & more parmesan (and definitely freshly grate a real chunk of parmesan cheese for this if you can!).
If you’re looking for more risotto + pasta recipes, here are a few to try:Print
Tomato Basil Risotto
creamy tomato basil risotto with parmesan and crushed red pepper
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 lb cherry tomatoes
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- ½ tsp crushed red pepper
- kosher salt
- freshly cracked black pepper
- ½ cup packed fresh basil leaves, plus more for topping
- 1 qt chicken (or vegetable) stock
- 1 cup arborio rice
- ½ cup white wine
- 2 tbsp butter
- ¾ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- Heat a 5-6qt Dutch oven (or heavy-bottomed pot) over medium heat. Add 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Once hot, add the onions. Saute for about 5 minutes. Add the cherry tomatoes. Cook for another 5 minutes.
- Stir in the garlic, crushed red pepper, a pinch of salt, and freshly cracked black pepper. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and continue to cook for 15 minutes until softened and caramelized. Transfer the mixture to a blender with the basil and blend until smooth.
- Heat the stock in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until just barely simmering. Whisk in the tomato puree. Keep the liquid warm over low heat.
- Wipe out the Dutch oven and return it to medium heat. Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Stir in the arborio rice. Allow it to toast for a minute or so.
- Add the white wine. Use a wooden spoon to stir until the rice has absorbed the liquid. Start to ladle the heated tomato stock into the pot, one ladle (or about a ½ cup measurement) at a time, stirring after each addition until the liquid has been absorbed. Continue until you’ve added all of the liquid. This process should take about 20-25 minutes or so.
- Stir in the butter and a ½ cup of the parmesan cheese. Once the butter and cheese have melted, taste the risotto and season with more salt if needed.
- Transfer the risotto to a serving bowl. Garnish with the remaining ¼ cup of parmesan, basil leaves, and a pinch of crushed red pepper if you’d like more heat.