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Monday, March 16, 2009

Garlic Risotto Calabrese with Tomato Cream

Since we are on the topic of comforting starch, let's have a chat about risotto, shall we? Risotto is the Queen of Comfort. But I think risotto gets a bad rap for being a needy child that requires a lot of attention, with all that stirring and fussing. You can't just dump everything in a big pot and let it simmer and expect it to turn into magic. You can't rush those fussy rice kernels. They like to drink liquid at their own pace. But, the rewards are great, I promise. What I have learned about risotto is that 1) a lot of recipes underestimate the amount of stock needed to fully cook the rice grains, 2) baked risotto will never be the same as traditionally made risotto no matter what they say, and 3) the stock you use absolutely matters--a very flavorful stock will come out in the total flavor of the risotto.

Normally, risotto contains a hefty amount of parmesean, which is where most of the fat comes from, but this recipe proves that you can omit it entirely and still obtain the richness by using a good quality stock.

Adapted from and Inspired by Todd English


* 1 Tbsp. olive oil
* 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
* 2 fresh tomatoes, diced
* zest from 1 lemon
* 2 Tbsp. fresh oregano leaves, chopped
* 3/4 cup light cream (or half & half)
* Optional: handful of uncooked shrimp, peeled/deveined/diced


* In a sauce pan over medium high heat, put the olive oil, garlic and tomatoes together and let it cook down for about 5 minutes.
* Add the lemon zest, oregano and cream and simmer for another 3-5 minutes.
* If you want to add shrimp, add them now and let it cook for about 2 or 3 minutes (be careful not to overcook because it will continue to cook while remaining hot).
* Remove from heat and cover to keep warm.


* 2 Tbsp. olive oil
* 1 red onion, finely diced
* 3 or 4 garlic cloves, minced
* 2 cups fresh chopped tomatoes
* 2 cups arborio rice
* 1 cup dry white wine
* 7 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
* 1/2 tsp. black pepper
* Optional Garnish: chopped parsley


* In a deep non-stick skillet, heat the olive oil on medium heat and toss in the onion and garlic cloves and cook until tender, about 6-8 minutes or so.
* Add the tomatoes and cook for a minute or two to release the tomato juices to make a little sauce.
* Add the rice and stir around until it is well-coated and cook for a minute or two.
* Pour in the wine and let the rice soak it up, stirring occasionally as needed.
* Then add the stock gradually, about 1 cup at a time, and continue to stir occasionally and add more stock once the rice has soaked up the liquid.

Ladle the risotto into a shallow dish and put a generous spoonful of tomato cream on top. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley or parmesan cheese.

Oh, and this is the sort of dish that calls for a nice crisp salad and a glass of wine...


Anonymous said...

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Morgan Lee said...

Thank you, ever so much. After several years reading and writing about legal stuff, I am slowly finding my way to back to more creative roots through cooking. I sincerely appreciate the encouragement.

Anonymous said...; You saved my day again.