Summer is in full swing around here, and so are the summer flavors. For me, nothing screams it is summer to me more than the combination of fresh basil and ripe from the vine tomatoes. While my tomatoes are not quite ready for the picking just yet, my basil plant is out of control. And I am not complaining... ;)
One of my favorite winter comfort foods is homemade risotto. I have called it my adult mac 'n cheese. One of my favorite summertime dishes to make that comes together quickly and beautifully is a caprese salad- just juicy thick slices of fresh from the garden tomato slices topped with a slice of fresh mozzarella and basil, and then drizzled with a little extra virgin olive oil and sprinkled with a pinch of two of kosher salt... Summer perfection. :)
The other week I came up with the crazy idea of combining my favorite wintertime dish with my favorite summertime dish and voila! Caprese Risotto was served!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35-40 minutes
Ingredients (4 servings)
- 2 tbsp olive oil, & then some for drizzling
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 4 cups of chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 1/2 cups of arborio rice
- 1/2 cup white wine (optional)
- 1 tbsp butter
- 2/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- Fresh basil leaves
- Grape or cherry tomatoes
Pour the chicken broth into a large saucepan. Over medium-low heat, start to slowly heat the broth to a low simmer.
Heat the 2 tbsp of olive oil over medium heat in a large dutch oven. Then add in the garlic and saute for a quick minute or two.
Add the cup of arborio rice to the garlic. Saute for another 1-2 minutes to slightly toast the rice.
Pour in your white wine now if you are choosing to add this. Cook and stir the rice/wine mixture over medium heat until all the liquid is absorbed.
If you are skipping the wine in this dish, then just move on to the next step below.
Using a ladle, scoop in one ladle full of the chicken broth. Cook and stir over medium-low heat until all the liquid is once again absorbed.
Continue doing this- ladling in the broth, stirring until absorbed until you have used all the chicken broth. This entire process should take between 30-35 minutes.
Once your risotto has absorbed all the liquid, remove from the heat and stir in the shredded mozzarella cheese and butter.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Top with fresh grape or cherry tomatoes and basil leaf chiffonades. You can choose to leave the tomatoes raw, or do as I did and give them a quick saute in a small frying pan with a little bit of olive oil. I only cooked them for about 2 minutes. You want them to remain whole and not get so hot that they burst open.
Finish each plate with a little drizzle of olive oil and enjoy!
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Seriously, folks... this is summer on a plate.
If you could combine one of your favorite winter dishes with one of your favorite summertime dishes, what kind of recipe would you have? ;)