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5 Ingredients or LessRisotto takes time. Not arduous time like, for instance, childbirth. Time, like the mediation portion of your yoga class, time.

Sizzle arborio rice in olive oil and then let the liquid incorporating dance begin. You could do this in your sleep or while striking a tree pose.


Remember the tomato water? – doubt I’ll ever write that sentence again.

Here’s where we can put that tomato water to magical use. If you haven’t siphoned water from garden fresh tomatoes, okay, we’ll use chicken stock.

Here’s where we can put those olive oil poached tomatoes to use. If you haven’t stewed your tomatoes in a slow cooked olive oil bath, okay, we’ll use fresh chopped or canned tomatoes.

See, we’re easy.

The point, and there is a point, is that risotto blooms beautifully with a basic tomato infusion. An easy dinner one night and a latenight reconstitution for guests the next night. Just ask Elizabeth, who, after the draining process of leaving her first-born at college, needed comfort food pronto, and tomato risotto came to the rescue with hugs and reassurances that she hasn’t lost a daughter, she gained a car decal.

Much like a good stew, tomato risotto improves the second time around, providing you don’t overcook it the first time. Tomatoes don’t lose any of the their nutritional zip with cooking. And fairly low cal if you don’t freak over carbs.

garden fresh tomato risotto

preptime – 15 minutes
serves 3-4
cooktime – 30 minutes

1 T olive oil

1 cup arborio rice (sold in most grocery stores)

1/2 cup tomato water (how-to below)

1 cup rough chopped poached tomatoes (recipe below)

1/2-3/4 cups chicken broth/stock

1/4 grated parmesan cheese, plus 2 T to top servings

basil optional

  1. On med heat, in med-large pot or saute pan, heat oil.
  2. Add rice to heated oil and stir. Allow rice to lightly brown, stirring frequently.
  3. Turn to med-low, add 1/2 the tomato water; stirring occasionally until nearly incorporated.
  4. Add 1/2 the chicken stock; stirring occasionally until nearly incorporated.
  5. Add the remaining tomato water, continue to incorporate as in previous steps.
  6. At this point, sprinkle in 1/2 teaspoon sea salt. Adjust the temperature to produce slow bubbling.
  7. Add tomatoes. If using poached tomatoes from the recipe below, add in a few mashed garlic pieces.
  8. When tomato water is nearly incorporated, add more chicken stock and repeat cooking method.
  9. Taste – adjust seasoning and determine doneness. The goal with risotto is a toothsome, yet creamy bite. There should be some sauciness too – not dry rice.
  10. Add a little more stock and the 1/4 cup parmesan cheese.
  11. Divide into serving dishes, top with a measure of grated parm (and torn basil leaves) to your liking.
  12. Serve with crusty bread and a mixed green salad.

crunchtimewarp: (time-saving steps)

  • Eliminate the poached tomatoes and use the remaining tomato pieces leftover from the tomato water process below. Note: you might think, I will just use whole tomatoes without extracting juices. The risotto must have liquid to cook first – meatier ingredients are added toward the end of the cooking process.
  • Use chicken stock in place of tomato water.
  • Use chopped fresh or canned tomatoes (buy whole that you chop)

Tomato Water

4 heirloom tomatoes, sliced


Place sliced tomatoes in wire mesh strainer fitted over a bowl. Toss tomatoes with ample amount of sea salt (1/2-1 teaspoon). Let drain for an hour or overnight, pressing down tomatoes to extract their juices. Use drained tomatoes in any salad or dish – it’s all tomato without the cumbersome liquid.

Oil Poached Tomatoes

1 head of garlic, cloves separated

2 sprigs rosemary
2 sprigs thyme
1 cup olive oil
1 pound small tomatoes (about 6), halved, cored
1 tsp. kosher salt
  1. Preheat oven to 300°. Toss tomatoes, garlic, rosemary and thyme sprigs, oil, and salt in a large baking dish.
  2. Bake tomatoes until they are soft and skins begin to shrivel, 35–45 minutes. Let cool slightly, then slip off skins. Discard herbs.
  3. DO AHEAD: Tomatoes can be made 5 days ahead. Cover tomatoes and oil and ­chill.

Note: After using tomatoes and garlic, save the leftover seasoned oil for cooking.

recipe provided from your friends at crunchtimefood.com, poached tomatoes recipe adapted from Bon Appetit magazine.


  1. Elizabeth says Sep 11th 2013 3:36 pm

    Not as good as yours, (how could it be?) but I did it! Poached tomatoes and all! I didn’t even know that tomatoes could be poached. Yum.

    • Sherri says Sep 11th 2013 4:55 pm

      Love that you went full monty. I’m sure it loses some flavor when you serve it to yourself. xo

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