Regaining Control (Fresh Tomato Risotto)

My e-mail inbox is taunting me. Every day I go into the office determined to empty it. Answer the messages that need answering, toss the rest. Sometimes I get as far as dwindling down the unanswered pile to 20 messages or so, and the overall mess to under 100. Then I leave for an hour and *bam* – the screen is filled with bold-face e-mails jostling for my attention.

“Neh-neh-neh-neh-neh, you can’t get rid of us. Neh-neh-neh-neh-neeeeeeh.”

Okay, the noise is in my head, but the bizarrely quick procreation of these buggers surely isn’t. So the battle resumes. If I’m lucky, I leave the office with as many messages in my inbox as when I came in. And while it is nice to be needed, it is also a tad intimidating to see my inbox spiral out of control.

After a day of battle, I want something to remedy the madness. Calm, simple food that takes little effort and does exactly what it is supposed to do. No jeering from my pans or oven, no inexplicable multiplication. I have found that risotto is a perfect answer to these demands. I skip the stirring and just boil the rice with the amount of broth the package tells me to. The rice plumps up from the liquid, but in a desirable rather than an uncontrollable way. Twenty minutes later, I have a pot full of soft, luscious food that only needs some flavorings to make a great meal.

Tonight I mixed in a quick fresh tomato sauce with lots of garlic for a clean, upbeat taste. I added slices of olive for punch and topped it with a fried egg for kicks. The latter wasn’t such a great idea: the yolk added a good extra creaminess, but the white didn’t bring anything. No matter, though. There are so many other toppings that would complement the base. Slices of fresh mozzarella, chunks of creamy gorgonzola or shards of salty parmesan. White fish fillet, finely chopped anchovies or squid rings. Crispy bacon bits, smoked chicken or beef strips…

Yeah.

‘Cause I need more endless lists.

Fresh tomato risotto

Serves 1

75 gr risotto rice
1 shallot, finely diced
olive oil
250 ml hot chicken broth
200 gr cherry tomatoes (regular tomatoes work too)
2 cloves garlic, minced
toppings to taste

Heat a glug of olive oil in a thick-bottomed sauce pan. Add the shallots when the oil is warm, and cook until they are translucent. Add the rice, stir until all rice has a film of oil and cook until most of the grains are translucent. Add 180 ml of broth, lower the heat and cover the pan. Simmer for ten minutes.

Meanwhile, halve the cherry tomatoes or chop the tomatoes in roughly evenly sized pieces. Heat a second glug of olive oil in a second small pan and add the garlic. Cook for a few seconds until it loses its rawness. Add the chopped tomatoes and heat gently. Simmer until the rice is done and the tomatoes have mostly disintegrated into a chunky sauce.

Taste the rice after ten minutes. The rice probably isn’t done yet- add more broth to prevent it from drying out and sticking to the pan and cook until the rice is tender (it usually takes about 20 min for me). Add the tomato sauce and mix thoroughly (you can remove the tomato skins if you like, but I never bother). Cover the pan and leave to stand for five minutes or so. Mix in toppings, if using. Turn out onto a warmed plate and top with more additions, if you like. Serve hot.

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2 Comments

Filed under My Man Cooks, Pasta and rice

2 responses to “Regaining Control (Fresh Tomato Risotto)

  1. Pingback: Angeled Eggs « Shoebox Cooking

  2. Pingback: Daily Dinner: Turnip Top Risotto « Shoebox Cooking

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