Flavors of Summer and Italy
Yes, it’s the middle of winter. That’s exactly why I need to make a recipe like this. The warmth and creamy goodness of the risotto is comforting when it’s cold and the wind is howling outside. Then there’s the fresh, simple flavors of tomatoes, mozzarella and basil that are reminiscent of summer and Italy. Some people think that risotto is a difficult dish to make. It’s really quite easy, it just takes time and a lot of stirring, which brings me to the other reason I love risotto. It’s not that I need an excuse to drink wine, but when a recipe calls for 1/3 cup of dry white wine, what does one do with the rest of the bottle?? And, what else is there to do while standing in front of the stove stirring risotto for half an hour? So grab a glass, pour yourself a delicious Chardonnay and start stirring.
Risotto with Fresh Mozzarella, Tomatoes, and Basil
- 5-6 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cups chopped leek
- 1 1/2 c arborio rice or other medium-grain rice
- 1/3 cup dry white wine
- 1/4 cup half-and-half
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup halved grape tomatoes
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
- 5 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, finely diced
Bring broth to a simmer in a medium saucepan (do not boil). Keep warm.
Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add leek to pan; sauté 3 minutes or until tender. Add rice; cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in wine, and cook 1 minute or until liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly. Stir in 1 cup broth; cook 5 minutes or until liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium. Add remaining broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly until each portion of broth is absorbed before adding the next (about 25 minutes total). Stir in half-and-half, salt, and pepper; cook 2 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in tomatoes, basil, and cheese.