This easy and classic tomato risotto is one of my favourite ways to enjoy sweet, juicy vine-ripened tomatoes while they are still in season. Here they are blistered on a grill plate which intensifies their flavour and brings out their rich sweet juices before they are added to the risotto. Which is served topped with grilled zucchini goats cheese parcels — adding a little bit of luxury to your meal with this simple recipe.
Tomato risotto as a flavorful main or side dish to grilled vegetables, fish or meat
I enjoy this risotto as a meatless main dish, but it also makes a great side dish for just about anything you want to grill on the side. Whether it be prawns, a fish filet or other protein of choice. Speaking of grilling, my favourite new method for stovetop grilling is with the use of a grill plate on my new ELAG 4-Zone Induction Cooktop. It’s the perfect way to bring some of those tasty flavors associated with outdoor grilling indoors.
Benefits of using a grill plate
If you are using a grill plate that sits on your induction cooktop you can create different zones with your griddle, from hot to warm. This will allow you to cook at more precise temperatures and keep your food warm while other items may still be cooking. This is exactly what I did when blistering the tomatoes, while the risotto continued to cook. And once I was ready to grill the zucchini parcels I was able to heat up the grill side of the plate. Its precise heat controls led to a great – and delicious – ending.
Ingredient tips for the best tomato risotto
- TOMATOES: Get the best tomatoes you can. In summer, that’s easy. Looks for vine-ripened cherry or mini roma tomatoes. I used a colourful medley of locally grown tomatoes in mine.
- BROTH: I prefer to use chicken broth in my risottos as I find they are more flavorful. Homemade is best, but an organic bouillon cube is also a good choice. For vegetarians use vegetable broth and don’t forget to also choose a vegetarian parmesan.
- WINE: Use any dry white wine you like to drink. I find Reisling to be a good choice for cooking. If you’d rather not use wine at all, simply replace with an equal amount of broth and maybe a squeeze of lemon for a little acidity.
- Arborio or Carnaroli RICE: Definitely use a risotto rice here.
Other risotto recipes you might like:
- Spinach Risotto with Fresh Herbs
- Leek Risotto with fried Jerusalem artichokes
- Butternut Squash Risotto
Tomato Risotto with Fresh Tomatoes & Zucchini Goat Cheese Parcels
For the zucchini parcels:
- 1 large zucchini or summer squash, sliced into ribbons with a mandoline
- 100 g goat’s milk cheese, sliced into 4 pieces
For the grilled tomatoes:
- 500 g vine-ripened cherry or grape tomatoes
- Heat resistant oil for lightly coating the grill plate
For the risotto:
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 small yellow onions, finely diced
- 4 large cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
- 1 1/2 cups risotto rice (Arborio or Carnaroli) (300 g)
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika (sweet)
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 6 cups chicken or vegetable broth, warmed (1,5 litre), plus more if needed
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan (35 g)
- sea salt and pepper, to taste
To garnish (optional)
- Fresh basil leaves
- Toasted pine nuts
- More freshly grated parmesan
To prepare the zucchini parcels:
- Grab 4 zucchini ribbons and layer them to make a star (see photo above). Place one round of the goats cheese onto the center of the zucchini. Bring the ends of the zucchini together, laying them over the cheese. Repeat with remaining zucchini and cheese.
Make the risotto: In a large deep skillet (or wok), heat the olive oil over medium heat and add the onions. Saute until golden about 10 minutes. Add garlic and thyme leaves, saute 2 more minutes until fragrant.
Add the rice, saute 1 minute, stirring. Then add the cayenne and paprika; stir to combine. Add the white wine and cook, stirring, until reduced.
- Add a ladle or two of the warm broth (enough to cover the rice), stir and bring to a simmer. Simmer, stirring until most of the liquid is absorbed. Continue adding broth 1 ladle at a time, letting the rice absorb it slowly, stirring often over medium heat, until the rice is al dente, yet creamy, about 20-25 minutes.
Meanwhile, blister the tomatoes: use a silicon-brush to coat your grill plate (or cast-iron skillet) with a little oil and heat the smooth side of the grill plate to medium-high heat for 2 minutes, then medium heat. Add tomatoes (whole) and sear, turning occasionally, until they burst and soften, about 7-8 minutes, reducing heat as necessary. Turn heat off.
Grill the zucchini parcels: heat the grill side of the grill plate (also coated with a little oil) over medium heat. Place the zucchini parcels on the grill plate and grill for 2 minutes on one side, then gently flip and reduce heat to medium-low. Continue to grill until lightly golden and cheese warmed.
Finish off the risotto: Stir in the butter and parmesan. Then add the tomatoes and stir, until well incorporated. Stir until well combined. Season generously with salt and pepper. Taste, adjust seasoning as needed.
- Serve immediately as a flavorful vegetarian main, topping with the cheese filled zucchini parcels and additional garnish of basil, parmesan or pine nuts, if desired. Enjoy!
- Depending on how creamy you like your risotto, you will need between 6-6 1/2 cups of broth. I used 6. If you need a bit more liquid to finish cooking the rice, you can also use a bit of warm water instead.
- Feel free to serve with grilled prawns, fish or meat if desired.
For a relaxing atmosphere in the kitchen I recommend my personal Elle Republic: Chilled Out Kitchen Tunes Playlist auf Spotify.
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Many thanks to ELAG Products GmbH for sponsoring this Tomato Risotto with Fresh Tomatoes & Zucchini Goat Cheese Parcels post!
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