Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Risotto with Fresh Mozzarella, Grape Tomatoes, and Basil

The other night we had a prepackaged (gasp) side of seasoned rice with dinner, and the baby geek gobbled it up. As a result of that (and the fact that I bought a 3-pack of fresh Mozzarella from Costco), I made this for dinner last night.

3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
4 1/2 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
2 Tbsp EVOO
2 cups chopped leek (2-3 medium leeks)
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice or other medium-grain rice (I didn't have enough so added some regular long-grain rice and it was fine, but Arborio is best)
1/3 cup dry white wine (in the future, I might double this and cut down the chicken stock to compensate)
1/4 cup half-and-half
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black papper
1 cup halved grape tomatoes
1/4 cup chpped fresh basil
5 oz fresh mozzarella cheese, diced

1. Place vinegar in small, heavy saucepan; bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook until slightly syrupy and reduced to 1 Tbsp (about 4 min). Set aside.

2. The original recipe has you bring the broth to a simmer in a pan and then keep it warm so that it's warm when you add it to the rice. Or you could do this in a microwave, which is what I intended to do, except that I forgot and just added it cold. Nothing bad happened as a result. If your broth was cold (not room temperature), you probably want to warm it up a bit before using it.

3. Heat oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat.
Add leek; saute 3 minutes or until tender.
Add rice, cook 2 min, 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 mdium. 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 in individual serving bowls and drizzle with 1/2 tsp balsamic syrup. (Little geeks don't always like the syrup, but big geeks do!)

This is a perfect rainy day lunch or dinner! It was not rainy when we ate it, but it was still good, and the baby geek LOVED it.

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