Slow-Roasted Tomato Risotto
Tomatoes were five dollars a peck at our farmer's market in Portland so of course I roasted a few trays. Now I'm having fun figuring out how to use them up! This risotto is quick (for risotto, which always takes 20 to 25 minutes to cook) because if you already have a bucket of roasted tomatoes there's not much other prep except for cutting up the onion.
The slow cooking infuses the rice with the goodness of the roasted tomato juice and all those herbs I used in the roasting. The result is reminiscent of slow-cooked tomato sauces in terms of the herb and garlic overtones, but somehow the tomatoes retain a fresh-from-the-garden taste in this preparation.
As has become the norm for us this summer, we had this with a big salad of fresh greens, blanched and sliced white turnips and some sliced roasted beets (toss in olive oil, roast uncovered in a 400º oven for about an hour until the skin is all wrinkled and loose, cool, peel, slice) -- all from our farm share box -- and a rosemary focaccia from Standard Bakery. It made for a great fall meal, but with a bittersweet note because of our growing awareness that in a month the farm beds down for the winter and we've got to go back to Califactory industro-food. Oh, well...the farmers have already started planning for the spring and reading seed catalogues, so I'm already looking forward to the first tender greens, tiny turnips and garlic scapes of spring...which are all the sweeter due to their absence through our harsh winters here in Maine.
Slow-Roasted Tomato Risotto
2 cups slow-roasted tomatoes, cut up in large chunks if necessary, with their juice
1 medium onion, 1/2 inch dice
1-1/2 C arborio rice
6-8 threads saffron
4 T butter
4 C low sodium chicken broth
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 oz Parmigiano Reggiano, shredded
fish sauce to taste
hot sauce to taste
chopped fresh parsley or basil for garnish
Scoop the tomatoes into a sieve. Drain, pressing gently with a spoon, and reserve the juice.
Mix the chicken broth with the reserved tomato juice and set to warm on the stove. Place the rice, 2 tablespoons of the butter and the onion in your risotto pot over medium high heat and cook several minutes, stirring, until the rice starts to color. Add two cups of the broth mixture and all the saffron. Adjust the heat to a high simmer and cook, stirring constantly and adding more liquid to keep the pot fairly soupy as the rice absorbs it, for 20 to 25 minutes. After the first 10 minutes add about 2/3 of the drained tomato chunks and half the garlic.
When the rice is nearly done (still firm but no longer chalky at the center) start letting the mixture get a little drier. Add the cheese and the remaining tomatoes, garlic, and butter. Correct the seasoning with fish sauce and hot sauce and serve immediately. Garnish with the chopped fresh herbs if desired.
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