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
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.