|Photo courtesy of La Vita Saporita|
It was a close race, but this Sun-dried Tomato-Basil Risotto was the most requested this week. For those of you who voted for the Pumpkin-Parsley Risotto, stay tuned - it will get posted before the weekend. Promise.
But back to this ridiculously good risotto. The Bear was highly skeptical when he saw the ingredients on the counter and I have to admit, I wasn't expecting it to be all that interesting either. But I had just found this recipe (and I hadn't gone to the market to get anything else) so we tried it out.
This risotto is amazing. I can't remember the last time we dropped so many F-bombs in the kitchen - and I mean that in the best possible way.
Sun-Dried Tomato-Basil Risotto with Balsamic Vinegar
Courtesy of La Vita Saporita
5 cups vegetable broth
2 small tomatoes, peeled and chopped (about 1-1/2 cups)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or pressed
1-1/2 cups (250g) arborio rice
1 cup red wine
4-5 sun-dried tomatoes (about 3 oz), cut into bite size pieces
1-1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, chopped
salt & pepper to taste
20 fresh basil leaves, cut into thin strips (chiffonade)
Pour the veggie broth into a saucepan and add the chopped tomatoes. Bring to simmer and reduce to warm, but don't take it off the heat. It's important that the cooking liquid is always hot to facilitate the starch release.
While that's happening, warm the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add the onion with a teaspoon of salt - this will soften the onion and keep it from browning. Then add the garlic and saute until soft.
Next, add the rice and stir with a wooden spoon until the rice is thoroughly coated and becomes translucent. Nicely toasted rice is another secret to great risotto.
Add in a cup of red wine (and pour one for yourself while you're at it) and stir until the liquid is absorbed. Then add a cup of the broth and tomatoes and stir. And stir. And sip. And stir some more.
When the broth has been absorbed, add another cup and keep stirring until the liquid has again been absorbed. Feel free to pour yourself another glass of wine. Call your mom. Make out with your husband. But whatever you do, keep stirring.
Continue adding the broth a cup at a time. When the rice starts to soften (test a couple of grains after 2-3 cups), stir in the sun-dried tomatoes then continue adding rest of the broth (a cup at a time) and stir-stir-stirring until the rice is al dente (tender but slightly firm in center).
When the rice is nice and creamy, stir in the last cup of broth along with the balsamic vinegar. When these have been mostly absorbed, remove from heat, add the chopped parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste. The traditional texture is all'onda (wavy). It should spread out easily, but not have a watery perimeter so be sure not to cook the liquid out completely.
Risotto should be served and eaten immediately or it will continue to cook itself in its own heat which will dry it out and make the grains too soft.
Spoon onto individual plates or bowls, garnish with the basil chiffonade (