The key to a successful risotto is, of course, the right rice (short grained varieties such as Aborio or Carnaroli that produce more starch) and the patience to add liquids in increments, allowing the rice to absorb the wine and broth and give off its starch properly.
The added step of roasting the cherry tomatoes before beginning the rice brings wonderful flavor and color to this dish. This is a step that can be done ahead of time or even in the pot you are assembling the risotto in. If pressed for time, you can roast them for the 10 to 15 minutes I've stated here but I love what roasting them even longer does for them. You may find yourself with extra broth once the risotto is finished. Reserve and use to thin as needed, especially with any leftovers.
- 2 containers cherry tomatoes (approximately 12 ounces)
- 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 3/4 cup dried porcini mushrooms
- 1 cup boiling water
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1-3/4 cups diced onion
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped
- 2 cups Arborio rice
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1/2 cup parsley, chopped (more for garnish, optional)
- 1-1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
- 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese plus more for garnish and serving
- 1 to 1-1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest (optional)
- Sea salt and cracked black pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place tomatoes on a baking sheet and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and toss. Roast until skins wrinkle, about 10 to 15 minutes.
Heat broth in a saucepan. Chop mushrooms into bite sized pieces and steep in boiling water for 15 minutes. Remove mushrooms, drain and save liquid and set aside.
In a heavy saucepan melt butter with remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add onion and garlic and sauté on medium to low heat until onion is translucent, do not scorch. Add rice and stir to coat completely. Add wine and stir until absorbed. Combine mushroom liquid and broth and begin to add to pot, 1 cup at a time, adding more as liquid is absorbed, maintaining gentle simmer. Remove from heat promptly when rice is tender but not soft so as not to overcook. Add mushrooms and remaining ingredients except cream. Gently fold in tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Add cream. Garnish with parsley and grated cheese.
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