Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Roasted Tomato Risotto

Roasted tomato risotto

Roasting tomatoes is one of my favorite ways to bring out the summer staple's deep flavors. I thought they might make an interesting risotto, but recipes I found online tend to be just a regular chicken stock risotto with some roasted tomatoes stirred in at the end. I wanted my risotto to have bolder tomato flavor.

Oven roasted tomatoes
Roasting summer tomatoes brings out their depth of flavor, perfect for making a rich vegetable broth.

Inspired by the Washington Post’s recent article on DIY vegetable broths, I decided to make roasted tomato broth and use that as the liquid for my risotto. The resulting dish was a rich and creamy risotto—without the need for cream or butter—with a delicious tomato flavor.

roasted tomato vegetable broth
In addition to roasted tomatoes, I used fennel, onion, garlic and herbs to flavor my vegetable broth.

Roasted Tomato Risotto

Makes about 5-6 servings

3 lb. ripe red tomatoes, cut into 1 to 2 inch chunks
4 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
Salt, to taste
2 large sweet onions, 1 roughly chopped, the other diced
1 fennel bulb, chopped with fennel fronds
1 bunch (about 8-10 sprigs) fresh summer savory (may substitute fresh thyme)
8 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
10 cups water
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 ½ cup Arborio rice
¾ cup white wine, dry or slightly sweet (I used Pine Ridge Viognier-Chenin Blanc)
½ cup grated parmigiano-reggiano
8-10 large fresh basil leaves, torn by hand into 1-inch pieces

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Toss cut tomatoes with 2 tbsp. of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. Roast for 3 hours, stirring at each hour mark. Let tomatoes cool and store in the refrigerator until ready to use (be sure to keep the tomatoes and any juices in the pan).

2. Chop ½ cup of the roasted tomatoes (about ¼ of the total) and set aside. Add the remaining roasted tomatoes to a Dutch oven or other large pot along with the fennel, 1 roughly chopped sweet onion, garlic cloves, summer savory, 2 tsp. salt, freshly ground black pepper to taste, and 10 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to simmer for about 2 hours. Strain the mixture with a metal sieve, using a wooden spoon to squeeze moisture out of the vegetables (especially the tomatoes). This should yield about 8 to 9 cups of broth. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use. (note: This is twice as much as you’ll likely need for the risotto).

3. Heat tomato-vegetable broth in a medium saucepan and keep warm over low heat (do not boil it).

4. Heat 2 tbsp. olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add diced onion and sauté until softened but not browned, about 10 minutes. Add rice, stir to combine and continue cooking another 5 minutes to lightly toast the rice. Add wine and stir frequently until the wine is absorbed. Add 2 cups of broth and cook, stirring frequently, until the broth is absorbed (broth is absorbed when mixture doesn’t immediately cover bottom of pan when you scrape the spoon against the bottom). Add 2 more cups of broth in ½ cup increments, stirring frequently and waiting to add the next ½ cup until the previous one is absorbed. At this point, the rice should have expanded a bit but is still al dente. Stir in the reserved ½ cup chopped roasted tomatoes, parmigiano-reggiano cheese and torn basil leaves. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve in shallow bowls.


  1. Yummy dish and great photography. Love the shot of the roasted tomatoes.

  2. Hi Andrew, I wanted to check out your site. I love the eclectic style of different flavors and tastes. This post grabbed my attention because it pairs tomato with fennel! This is a match made in heaven and one that I love to cook with when both are visiting my kitchen. I would love to try this risotto. I know it will taste divine. Reading recipes is something I do a lot and you just know when it will be good or not when you try it. I like the tomato fennel pairing, abundant garlic and fresh herbs ad parmesan cheese. Can't wait. I will report back when I do! I'll be back. Bonnie

    1. Thank you Bonnie! I was really proud of this recipe--one of my favorite original tomato recipes from this season. I agree that tomatoes and fennel are a wonderful pairing. I've read that fennel is more common in a lot of Italian cooking than Americans realize, so I've tried to incorporate it more. It's so versatile: you can treat it like you would celery, but it also has onion qualities to it too. We just ate some roasted apples and fennel, which was delicious. Please let me know if you make this dish.

  3. Looks great. I'll definitely be trying this here in summer when the tomatoes are at their best.

    1. Thanks Michelle. Hope you enjoy it. Tomatoes are really good right now. I feel like I'm eating them constantly these days.