I love risotto.  My love affair began the first time I made it.  Creamy, smooth, warm, earthy, and full of flavour.  It has now become our household ‘celebration’ meal.  If it’s on the table, it is either Valentine’s Day or New Year’s Eve or we are having people over.  I did make this one the other day, just because, and Mr. F was smiling his devilish smile at me accross the table.  He felt special and so did I.  That is what risotto does.

We have been making the risotto in a warm earthy flavour way pretty much every time.  Using ingredients like rosemary, mushrooms, goat cheese etc.  I’ll tell you that our two faves are rosemary and mushroom or goat cheese and prosciutto.  I’ve also made a special champagne risotto with lobster on New Year’s but that’s when we were ready to down the rest of the bottle on a carefree/baby free night.

This recipe of risotto is a real change up.  I got the book ‘Cook With Jamie’ from my brother-in-law last year for Christmas.  I didn’t mind the heavy cookbook in my luggage in the least!  I voraciously read it cover to cover when I got home, but then just left it on my shelf – what?!  I know.  I just couldn’t pick anything.  Does that ever happen to you? Well, finally I heard about this risotto.  It was claimed to be one of the best thing’s from the book, but fresh tomatoes in risotto?  That sounded….fresh….  Well, I can gladly report that it will be in our celebration rotation from now on.  I guess I never met a tomato basil combo that I didn’t love.

Fresh tomato, basil and ricotta risotto adapted from Jamie Oliver’s Cook With Jamie

You can make risotto with whatever ingredients you want, but it always starts the same.  I will explain the basic recipe and then tell you when to add the rest.  Oh, and the basic recipe is superb as a side, no extras needed.

2 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, diced

3 celery stalks, diced

1.5 cups risotto rice (short grained or arborrio)

6 cups chicken broth (can use veg)

1/4 cup dry white wine (optional)

2 tbsp butter

1/2 cup finely grated parmesan cheese

Extras:

1 clamshell of grape or cherry tomotoes (or any good looking ones that you see)

red wine vinegar and olive oil to marinade the tomatoes in

handful fresh basil

crumbly ricotta cheese or crumbly goat cheese

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp red pepper flakes

First chop the tomatoes in half or quarters and put them in a small bowl with a glug of olive oil, a splash of vinegar, salt and pepper, stir and let sit to marinade.

Second, place the ricotta on a small baking dish.  Rub with a little oil and spinkle with the oregano and red pepper flakes.  Place in a preheated 350 degree oven for 10 minutes until golden brown.

Third, begin by putting the stock on low to medium heat.  In a separate pot, sauté the diced onions and celery in the oil until the onions are clear.  Add the rice and stir.  When the rice is somewhat clear, pour in enough dry white wine to cover the rice.  Stir continuously until the wine is absorbed.  Spoon one ladleful of warm stock into the rice mixture.  Continuously stir until it is the stock is absorbed.  Repeat this until there is about 2 ladlefuls of stock left. At this point, add 2/3 of the marinated tomatoes without the marinade – just use a slotted spoon. Continue adding stock as directed above until the last of it used.  For the final risotto, is should be creamy and oozy and slightly looser than you think.

Lastly add in the butter and parmesan until melted.  Right before serving, add the broken up ricotta, the rest of the tomatoes and tear in the basil.  Enjoy!

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