A Classic Risotto With Canned or Fresh Tomatoes
- Servings: 6.
This is a perfect way to use ripe in-season tomatoes. Adding half the tomatoes at the start of the cooking adds depth and complexity to the flavor. Adding the other half toward the end of the cooking means you'll also have the bright taste that only fresh tomatoes can bring.
Note: You can also make this recipe with canned tomatoes. Use 2 cups whole, peeled San Marzano tomatoes and add them all at the start of the cooking, crushing them with your hand as you add them to the pan. If you're making the risotto with canned tomatoes, begin at step #3.
See our article, "How to Make Risotto," for instructions and tips to make a perfect and authentic risotto.
- 2 pounds fresh tomatoes (beefsteak or local New Jersey tomatoes are perfect) or 2 cups canned San Marzano tomatoes with their juice, from a 28 or 34 oz. can (discard any basil leaves that may be in the can)
- 4 cups chicken stock (homemade or boxed stock work best)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 3/4 cup finely chopped onion
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced thin
- 1 cup Arborio or Carnaroli rice
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
- Peel the raw tomatoes. This can be done by submerging them in a large pot of boiling water for 15 or so seconds. Transfer immediately to a bowl of iced water to stop any cooking. The skins should slip right off. Some tomatoes have a thicker skin that can instead be peeled with a vegetable peeler or serrated knife.
- Cut the peeled tomatoes into 1-inch chunks. Place in a bowl and retain the juices and seeds. You should have about 4 cups of tomatoes and their juices.
- In a saucepan add the chicken stock and bring to a low simmer. Keep the stock hot while cooking the risotto.
- In a large sauté pan or skillet, add the olive oil and butter and place over a medium high heat until the butter melts.
- Add the onions and cook until soft and translucent, about 10 minutes.
- Add the garlic slices and cook until soft and until both the onions and garlic begin to turn golden brown, about 5 minutes.
- Add the rice, stir to combine with the onion and garlic and so that each grain of rice is coated with the hot olive oil and butter and becomes opaque, about 3 minutes.
- Keeping the heat at medium high, add the wine and cook, stirring until the wine is absorbed.
- Add one soup ladle of hot chicken stock (about 1 cup), stirring until absorbed.
- Add about one half of the tomatoes. If you're using fresh tomatoes, hold the other half until the risotto is nearly finished cooking. If you're using canned tomatoes, add half now, crushing them with your hands as you add them to the pan. Also add half the juice, stirring until the juice is absorbed and the tomatoes begin to break up. Once the juice is incorporated, add the other half of the canned tomatoes and the remainder of the juice. Continue to cook and stir as the juice is absorbed.
- Return to adding the hot stock, a cup at a time, stirring until absorbed, until nearly all the stock has been added and the rice is almost tooth tender. This will take about 15 minutes. Keep the heat at medium high and stir continuously.
- If you're using fresh tomatoes, at this point add the remaining pieces and juice and stir to combine. Taste for salt and also for doneness. The rice should be tender to the bite.
- If the rice is still too firm, add more chicken stock. If you have used all the chicken stock, add hot water, a half-cup at a time, stirring until it's absorbed, and until the rice is tender but still firm.
- Remove from the heat and add the grated Parmesan, stirring to combine.
- Serve immediately.