Spatula, Spoon and Saturday

Eating and Cooking all the things in Melbourne

Sweet Tomato, Goat’s Cheese and Basil Risotto

I love risotto. Naturally we have it a lot more often in winter but this was another one of those menu that was born out of cupboard staples and had a distinctively summer feel to it. I am a big fan of tomatoes for breakfast, so we always have at least 3-4 tomatoes hanging around in the fruit bowl.

This recipe was inspired by Jamie Oliver’s tomato, basil and ricotta risotto but naturally I lost it half way and started doing my own thing. Hey, like I said, it hasn’t turned out badly yet.

Risotto for two people who are in lurrve

  1. 1 cup of arborio rice
  2. 1 onion, finely chopped
  3. 1/2 bulb of baby fennel, finely chopped*
  4. 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  5. 3 very ripe, sweet tomatoes, chopped into large chunks.
  6. 3 large chunks of marinated goat’s cheese (about 80 g.) **
  7. 3 tbsp of standard dressing (i.e. one part olive oil, one part balsamic vinegar, salt & pepper)
  8. a sprinkling of dried chilli flakes
  9. 4 large leaves of fresh oregano, thinly slices ***
  10. 1 handful of fresh basil leaves
  11. 1 litre of vegetable stock, simmered (I use 1 tbsp Vegeta Gourmet Stock powder + 1/2 cube of Massel veggie stock)

Dress the tomatoes with the standard dressing and set aside. Sprinkle the goat’s cheese with the chilli flakes and organo and grill for ten minutes or until golden.

Heat a glug of olive oil in a sauce pan and fry off the onion and fennel gently for ten minutes on low heat. Add garlic and cook for another minute. Turn the heat up, add the rice and fry until hot to touch. Ladle in some hot stock. Keep stirring and add the stock one ladle at a time. Add 2/3 of the tomatoes half way through. Cook, stirring and keep adding stock until the rice is soft and creamy but firm to bite in the middle.

Stir in the rest of the tomatoes, grilled goat’s cheese and the basil leaves. Rest for one minute and then serve immediately, drizzled with a good grassy olive oil. Yum.

On hindsight, really, I should have pretended that this was my Cookbook Challenge Week 7 but it’s too late. I’m going to hit post now.

* I had the fennel left over from something else, you can use celery instead.
** As mentioned previously, marinated goat’s cheese (soft and creamy) is our fridge staple (having a cheese maker for a brother-in-law does have its advantages). You can use ricotta or other soft goat’s cheese instead. Drizzle a bit of oil on it before roasting.
*** A few pinches of dried oregano is fine but hey it’s summer and I have a pot of oregano.

This is an appreciation bit for my oven

I love my oven. I don’t care if it’s a second hand bought rental oven. It’s old. In fact, it may even be called retro. But It rocks. I have had brand new oven. I have used my parent’s whiz bang oven. I have used other friends’ whiz bang ovens. But mine rocks the most. You know why?

It’s a gas oven. Get gas. Seriously. Having an electric oven is like having electric hotplates.