Grape Tomatoes, Basil and Mozzarella Risotto

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So this is probably one of my favorite dishes, although it is a little difficult to make. Risotto can be a bit of a task to make only because you have to constantly stir it for up to half an hour. This risotto is a creamy, rich mix with mozzarella, basil and tomatoes drizzled with reduced balsamic. It tastes like it is a splurge even though it is actually a healthy version. It is so delicious and a perfect comfort meal. I love the combination of the sweet tomatoes, basil and mozzarella with the reduced balsamic on top. The balsamic gives it a really good flavor that adds a lot to this dish. Now if only I could get a robot to do all the stirring for me!

Ingredients

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
4 1/2 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons extravirgin olive oil, divided
2 cups chopped leek
1 1/2 cups 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

Preparation

Place vinegar in a small, heavy saucepan; bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook until slightly syrupy and reduced to 1 tablespoon (about 4 minutes). Set aside.
Bring broth to a simmer in a medium saucepan (do not boil). Keep warm.
Heat 1 tablespoon 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. Place about 1 cup risotto into each of 6 shallow serving bowls; drizzle each serving with 1/2 teaspoon balsamic syrup and 1/2 teaspoon oil.

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