alcohol | cheese | food | italian | meals | risotto | savory | white wine

Tomayto, tomahto, let’s call the whole thing risotto!

May 31, 2009

Before I start, I just want to let everyone know that Cupcake Rehab has a new Facebook page! So go become a fan if you have Facebook. And if you don’t have a Facebook, don’t worry! There are other ways to keep up with Cupcake Rehab, just click here and see.

Okay now on to the recipe. Risotto is one of my all-time favorite recipes. Its filling, easy and always has a bit of a “wow” factor. I think thats because most people never make it at home, or if they do its one of those box mixes from Whole Foods. Its almost always a restaurant dish to people. It intimidates them like crazy. Well not me. I have three other risotto recipes in my archives and love every single one. I think risotto is acutally easier than a lot of other dishes, and so versatile. You can add basically any vegetable, any meat, any seafood. Its a wonder-dish!

But here’s a new one for me: Tomato risotto with parmesan & fresh basil. Delicious sounding, even better tasting. Thanks to Last Night’s Dinner for the recipe. I changed it a bit to suit me, but the recipe is her’s. Mangia!



  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons EVOO (I just really wanted to write that- I hope you all know that means extra virgin olive oil)
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 cups Arborio rice
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 cup GOOD QUALITY pasta sauce
  • 4-5 cups chicken broth
  • about 6 large basil leaves, chopped (less if you like less basil, more if you’re a basil fanatic)
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese


  1. Melt butter into olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat. Meanwhile, heat the broth in a saucepan of its own until its hot, but not bubbling. Add onion and a pinch of salt to butter and olive oil and cook a few minutes until softened. Add the rice and stir well to coat with the butter/olive oil mixture. Allow to cook a few minutes more until the rice begins to become translucent. Add wine and continue to stir, allowing most of the liquid to absorb. Stir in pasta sauce and half of the chicken broth and again allow to cook until most of the liquid has been absorbed.
  2. Continue adding the remaining broth a cup or so at a time, stirring fairly continuously, and allow the liquid to cook into the risotto. What you want is for the risotto to be creamy and the texture of the grains of rice to be firm but not crunchy or hard. Taste frequently as the rice cooks so you can test the texture of the rice, and also add more salt as needed. You may not need all the broth, but if you happen to need more liquid you can add a cup or two of water.
  3. Once the risotto is creamy and al dente, yet not mushy, turn off the heat and gently stir in the basil. Add a bit of freshly grated Parmagiano Reggiano and stir that in immediately before serving.

I like to serve my risotto in a bowl with a slice of chunky artisan bread, like an olive oil ciabatta. Like the original recipe, a fantastic addition to this would be big fat hunks of fresh mozzarella, stirred in while its still hot. And people- there is nothing, NOTHING, like using fresh basil. I clipped some off of my basil plant for this, if you don’t have a basil plant of your own then go buy some fresh basil. Basil, basil, basil!

I made this for dinner and then made some spiced sugar bomboloni for dessert. Awesomely awesome.

Also, I never use metal spoons to stir anything I make that has tomatoes or tomato sauce. My mother told me years ago that the metal can react with the acid in tomatoes and make a not so nice result. Always use wooden or silicone. And NEVER leave a metal serving spoon sitting in a hot pot of sauce you want to continue eating from. Just a little tip from me to you.

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  1. I love risotto and I agree that it’s deceptively easy! I like the sound of this, too – sounds comforting in the same way that tomato soup is!

  2. YUM! This risotto looks fabulous. Not only do I love tomatoes, but basil happens to be one of my favorite herbs. I can’t wait to try this recipe out. It’s definitely a keeper.

  3. i’m salivating over here. for someone who’s being very health conscious, do you recommend trying to substitute some ingredients in a recipe like this or is it better to consider having a small portion and chalking it up to a little indulgence? Honestly, there’s not much in this one that would need to be switched out but butter and maybe using a sodium-free reduced fat chicken broth, but I’m curious to know how those changes would affect the outcome.

    Oh, and… ILOVEBASIL.

  4. Amanda: Oh you have to try and make it. Its so good, and so easy. And for some reason it really does impress people. “Oh you MADE this?” Its just rice, dude.

    Anna: Thats what it reminded me of, tomato soup. Except better. And with basil.

    Elyse: It really is a keeper. This has become my favorite risotto recipe now.

    Miss Becky: Sodium-free chicken broth would be totally fine in risotto, I think actually I’ve used it in the past. I know Martha recommends it for her recipes though. I always add salt ‘to taste’ myself however so I never noticed a taste difference. I’m of the mind that everything is okay in moderation. Thats how I lost 50+ pounds without cutting out butter or salt or anything. I’m a full believer in real butter and whole milk and stuff when cooking/baking- somethings you have to just go for it. Smart Balance butter does NOT taste good, you know? I don’t want that in my risotto or on my good quality Italian bread I spent a fortune on. That small amount isn’t that bad for you anyway. But maybe you could just substitute more olive oil for the butter if it really bothers you? Olive oil is excellent for you. And congratulations on becoming more health conscious! 😀 I too love basil now. When I was a kid I’d remove it from my food, haha. Now I love it!

  5. I just tried this for my friends today and it is absolutely AMAZING! I added some black olives and fresh tomatoes to it, which made it just about the best thing ever! And yeah, strange how a simple rice dish can really impress people…

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