A good risotto is well worth the effort. Not that it is hard dish to master- risotto is quite an easy formula to learn. All you have to do is stay attentive to how much liquid is in the pan at all times. Our advice is to choose one ingredient to feature, and keep it simple. Risotto is a great way to let an in-season ingredient shine.
This recipe uses tomatoes in 3 ways: chopped, grated, and halved. We cook it with Spanish sherry and finish it with a mild goat milk cheese from Spain as well. The basil that goes at the end is obligatory; it shows off basil in its best form.
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ yellow onion, small dice
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 cups tomato, small dice
2 cups Arborio or Carnaroli rice
½ cup dry sherry
8 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1 cup grated tomato (about 1-2 medium tomatoes)
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved and/or quartered
½ cup hard goat cheese from Spain, grated
A good handful of fresh basil leaves
Bring the broth to a boil and keep at a light simmer.
Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium high heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent, about 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic and chopped tomatoes and stir. Cook everything together until the tomatoes break down and get quite mushy, about 7-10 minutes. Stir in the rice and coat well with all of the tomato mixture in the pan.
Add the sherry and stir. Once the sherry has cooked down, pour in about 1 cup of broth. Keep stirring the rice with the broth, making sure it all gets integrated together. As the broth gets absorbed by the rice, add another cup. When you have added all of the broth you can, test the rice. If the rice is ready (it should be cooked through, but not mushy- it should have a little strength to it left), stir in the remaining grated tomato, halved cherry tomatoes, and then the cheese. Tear up the basil leaves and stir in as well. Serve immediately.