Friday, April 21, 2017

Tomato and Mozzarella Risotto: Pantry Comfort Food Dinner

With just a few good ingredients--hopefully most of which you have in your pantry (I only had to add a ball of fresh mozzarella to my shopping list) and some stirring at the stove time, you can have this slightly decadent, comfort food dish: Tomato and Mozzarella Risotto, on the table in about 35 minutes. 

The recipe comes from British chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, our current featured chef at I Heart Cooking Clubs from his column in The Guardian discussing the benefits of having tins of tomatoes on your pantry shelves.

Hugh says, "I'm not a fan of chopped tinned toms – the supposed convenience is just not worth the disappointment in terms of the flesh-to-juice ratio. They always seem on the thin side, lacking sauciness and oomph. So I buy tinned whole plum tomatoes, tip them into a bowl and crush them to a pulp with my hands, picking out any tough, stalky ends and bits of skin. Brands do vary a lot in quality, though, and it's worth paying a few pence extra to get more tomatoes in a thicker juice..."

Hugh says, "If you don't have fresh stock, use a high-quality cube or granules. As with the gratin, the mozzarella can be replaced by cheddar, parmesan or scraps of bacon, or even left out altogether."

Tomato and Mozzarella Risotto
Adapted from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall via
(Serves 2) (Deb says serves 3 to 4)
450ml (about 4 cups) chicken or vegetable stock
1 (15-oz) tin tomatoes, crushed, with juices
1 large knob butter
1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped (I used 4 cloves roasted garlic)

(I added 2 tsp dried parsley and 1 tsp dried basil)
125g (about a cup) risotto rice

sea salt and black pepper
1 ball buffalo mozzarella

extra-virgin olive oil, to finish

Put the stock and tomatoes into a saucepan, bring to a gentle simmer and keep over a very low heat.
Meanwhile, heat the butter in a saucepan over a low heat. When foaming, add the onion and sweat it for eight to 10 minutes, until soft. Add the garlic and cook for a minute or two more, then add the rice and cook, stirring, for a couple of minutes.
Now start adding the hot stock and tomato mixture, about a quarter at a time. Let the risotto cook, stirring often, adding more stock as it is absorbed. After 20-25 minutes, the rice should be cooked with just a hint of chalkiness in the middle and you should have used up all the stock and tomato mix.

Stir in some salt and pepper, then tear the mozzarella into chunks and add. Cover, leave for a minute, then stir the melting cheese through the rice, so there are lots of nice, stretchy, melty bits. Serve topped with a generous trickle of extra-virgin olive oil, with some peppery leaves on the side.

Notes/Results: Oh yeah, this is good. Really good. I did add a few touches--just some dried parsley and basil and some leftover roasted garlic (increasing the amount) and I used good Italian tomatoes--whole and self-crushed ala Hugh's advice and good garlic-vegetable stock so it had great flavor. It's hard to tell from the photos but the fresh mozzarella does melt into the most glorious strings as I am sure you can imagine from pizza, making it fun albeit a bit messy to eat. One thing is that Hugh says it serves two and I would say it serves at least three. That's about a third of it in the bowl in the picture and that is plenty for a serving as rich as it is. If you like spaghetti and you like risotto--this recipe is the best of both worlds. I will definitely make it again.

Linking up to I Heart Cooking Clubs where the theme this week Is Pantry Suppers. You can see the Hugh, pantry-friendly dishes everyone made by checking out the picture links on the post.

Happy Aloha Friday!


  1. You have me sold on this recipe. It looks wonderful and I happen to have canned plum tomatoes in the pantry..

  2. The weather is still on the cool side in Philadelphia and a nice bowl of risotto would hit the spot right now. I love melted cheese ..

  3. Cheese and tomatoes in a risotto is just comfort food


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