Tomato Risotto

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This is lovely with the little cubes of mozzarella stirred through near the end but, if you think you’re going to have some leftover to make fried risotto balls (opposite), put that to one side before you add the mozzarella. Leave out the chilli when you’re feeding youngsters. Use arborio or carnaroli rice.

Ingredients

Broth

  • ½ red onion, peeled
  • 1 small carrot, peeled
  • ½ leafy celery stalk
  • 3 parsley stalks
  • ½ small tomato
  • 3 tablespoonsolive oil
  • ½ red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled but left whole
  • pinch of dried chilli flakes (optional)
  • 200 g(7 oz) risotto rice
  • 250 ml(9 fl oz/1 cup) tinned tomatoes, pureed
  • 2 large basil leaves, torn
  • 20 g(¾ oz) parmesan cheese, grated
  • 100 g( oz) fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into 1–2 cm(½ inch) blocks
  • 2 tablespoonsolive oil, to serve
  • grated parmesan cheese, to serve

Method

For the broth, put the onion, carrot, celery, parsley and tomato in a pan with 1.25 litres(44 fl oz/5 cups) of water. Add salt and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes, then turn down the heat as low as it will go and leave the pan over the heat.

Heat the olive oil in a wide heavy-based pan. Sauté the onion and garlic over low-medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until lightly golden. Stir in the chilli flakes and rice and cook for another minute. Add half the tomato purée, half the basil and 375 ml(13 fl oz/ cups) of the hot broth.

Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring now and then. Add the rest of the tomato purée and the remaining broth and simmer for 10 minutes or until the risotto is cooked (if it needs another few minutes or a little more liquid, just use hot water). Fish out the garlic cloves and throw them away. Stir in the parmesan, mozzarella and remaining basil. Serve as soon as the mozzarella starts to melt, drizzled with olive oil and with a good grating of black pepper for the adults. Pass around the extra parmesan.

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