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A Farewell to Summer

I know, I know…it’s early November. I have no business posting anything about summer knee-deep in autumn.

Migliorelli had some beautiful plum tomatoes for about $1.60 a pound. I bought three or four pounds fully intending to make some of Marcella’s tomato sauce later in the week but this post on Mouthfulsfood gave me other ideas.

Tomato risotto

Click here for a closeup version of this picture.

This risotto is a little more work-intensive than normal because the tomato purée was made from scratch. Canned is fine; I prefer Pomi-brand tomato products if I’m not using fresh.

2 lbs. plum tomatoes (can be slightly firm to the touch)
olive oil
6 large shallots, diced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup arborio rice
1/2 cup pinot gris or other white wine
6 cups chicken stock*
freshly grated Parmesan cheese
salt and freshly milled black pepper, to taste
chopped fresh parsley

For the slow-roasted tomatoes:

Pre-heat oven to 200 F.

Cut tomatoes in half; reserve half for the tomato purée. Lay the tomato halves, cut side up in a Pyrex baking dish or a foil-lined cookie sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle each half with kosher salt and black pepper. Roast for five to six hours at 200 F. Set aside and let cool.

For the tomato purée:

Coarsely chop the remaining tomatoes. Heat olive oil in a pot and sweat half the diced shallots and half the garlic until they color slightly. Add the tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Set aside and let cool. Purée in a food processor or blender, or better yet, pass through a food mill. Check seasoning.

For the risotto:

In a separate, smaller pot, have your chicken stock at a simmer over low heat.

Melt half the butter in a large pot. Add the remaining shallots and garlic. Sweat until the shallots become translucent, about 5 minutes. Be sure not to let the garlic brown — it will affect the taste of the risotto immeasurably. Add the rice and stir until the rice becomes translucent. Pour in the wine and cook until the liquid is mostly absorbed. It’s difficult to say how long this is — a good time measure would be, when the wine is reduced by about half its original quantity.

Add the stock, a ladleful at a time while continuing to stir. When the initial ladleful is mostly absorbed, add another. You probably won’t have to use all of the stock; it’s better to have more than enough than to be short, if that makes any sense. Cook the risotto for 20 to 25 minutes until it’s done, adding a ladleful of liquid each time the previous liquid is absorbed, stirring constantly. When the risotto is done, stir in a few tablespoons of the reserved tomato purée, the remaining butter and reserved slow-roasted tomatoes. Check seasoning.

Spoon the risotto onto warmed serving plates, sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese and herbs, and serve at once.

Makes 4 main entrée servings or 6 appetizer servings.
Time: One hour (does not include prep time).

*If you wanted to make this vegetarian, substitute vegetable stock instead.

After this weekend, I don’t expect to see any more tomatoes at the market until next June … unless they’re of the hydroponic variety.

11 replies »

    • Hi Pam.

      Tomatoes and butter go well together — the flavor profile is a natural.

      What I like about this preparation is that you can make it any time of the year, but it really shines when you’re using late-season tomatoes.


    • hm, I thought the recipe was clear…

      when you make the risotto base, you use chicken or vegetable stock. I prefer chicken stock, not because I’m an omnivore, but because I feel chicken stock has a more “neutral” flavor profile than vegetable stock, if that makes any sense. the tomato purée gets added at the last minute.

      making risotto is pretty much the same process irrespective of the ingredients used — most of the time. aromatic vegetables [onion/shallots/leeks/garlic] sautéed in some type of cooking fat [usually butter, sometimes olive oil], deglazed with wine, then the gradual addition of broth or stock. any extra ingredients get added at the end, especially if the flavors are delicate.

      hope that clears things up for you.


    • One never can.

      Speaking of cans… Gennaro Contaldo says it’s perfectly alright to use canned tomatoes. My cupboards are generally not all that stocked up on staples, but I almost always have a few cans of tomatoes around. Add pasta and it’s edible and nutricious, perfect fallback food that doesn’t take as long as baking bread (the other thing I can usually prepare from what’s here).

      But I always have rice too… No chicken stock though. I don’t suppose fish stock would do? Bouillabaisse risotto? 😉


      • The thing with bouillabaise is that over there (well I don’t know about the Netherlands but it’s available in the south of France), you’ve got access to rascasse. Otherwise it’s not genuine bouillabaise, non?

        You can make risotto with fish fumet. Think risotto nero (black risotto, with squid ink) for example.


  1. The fish would be tricky, but even if it would disqualify it from being a real bouillabaisse, I’d rather use fish that was caught “locally” (at least brought in to a Dutch port).


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