I am indebted to Rome resident and Guardian food feature writer Rachel Roddy for her six part process for making resoundingly reliable risotto. She was told the tips by a friend so I assume she is magnanimous about my sharing them with you.
Tomato Risotto (Serves Four)
1. Slowly soften a finely diced medium sized Spanish onion in 40 grams of butter and a dash of olive oil on a low heat in a thick bottomed casserole pan.
2. Turn the heat up to a medium setting and stir in 400 grams of Arborio rice and keep stirring until it glistens.
3. Add a 125 millilitre glass of dry, white wine and keep stirring until it has been absorbed by the rice.
4. Now add what you want to flavour the risotto with. In this instance about 500 grams of washed, peeled, de-seeded and diced tomatoes. I dunk the tomatoes briefly in boiling water to split and loosen their skins before peeling. Source the ripest tastiest tomatoes you can find. They vary enormously but it is well worth paying a premium for the best you can find.
5. Now slowly add around 1.5 litres of vegetable stock to the rice ladle by ladle stirring continuously until the liquid has been absorbed each time. It isn’t a bad idea to have a ladle or two of surplus stock to ensure the risotto is sufficiently hydrated.
6. Once all the liquid has been absorbed (after around 17 minutes) add a large knob of butter and a generous handful of grated Parmesan to the risotto and stir vigorously.
Serve the risotto in pre-warmed shallow bowls and add some torn basil leaves for colour and flavour.
If you (like me) have vegan family members or friends you can use additional olive oil instead of butter and replace the Parmesan with nutritional yeast.
Tomatoes work well as a risotto flavouring in warmer months. Purists would serve that with an Orvietto or Bellone but I'd be perfectly happy with this month’s white - Picpoul de Pinet: Domaine Gaujal 2020 - or Coteaux du Cap Corse: Domaine Pieretti Rosé 2020.