Saturday, October 9, 2010

Sasha's Kitchen: Cherry Tomato-Thyme Risotto

Risotto is one of my favorite foods, and there are so many ways to prepare delicious risotto, from mushroom risottos to Belgian style mussels risottos. A good risotto is also a great way to showcase high-quality food products from good olive oil to delicious cheese to quality fish and vegetables. I was inspired to create a new tomato-risotto using some of the products I received in my package from Shop-Rite as part of the soon-to-launch Shop-Rite blog panel. For this new recipe, I tested out two private-label Shop-Rite products, Shop-Rite's imported extra-virgin Olive Oil and whole cherry tomatoes. The products were top-notch. The olive oil was smooth and delicious - top notch Italian extra-virgin olive oil. I was also really impressed with the quality of the cherry tomatoes. They were juicy and delicious and worked just perfectly in the risotto. They were  the perfect choice for making a delicious tomato risotto with bursts of fresh tomato flavor and just the right size (bite-size) for risotto. They truly were the star of the dish!

I am a big fan of thyme and tomato as a food combination so I used plenty of thyme in this recipe. I also decided that some pine nuts (pignolia nuts) would complement the flavors of the tomato and the thyme well.

Sasha's Cherry Tomato-Thyme Risotto
1 onion, diced
2 tsp diced garlic
4 T Shop-Rite private label Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
8-10 sprigs of fresh thyme
2 1/2 cups of Arborio risotto rice
2 T of tomato paste
1 cup white cooking wine
4 cups of sodium-free chicken broth
2/3 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined (or leave this out to make a vegetarian tomato risotto)
1 can of Shop-Rite cherry tomatoes
3 T of pine nuts
1/2 cups of grated parmesan cheese

First, combine the onion, garlic and two tablespoons of the extra virgin olive oil in a saute pan and cook over medium heat until the onions have softened. Add the thyme as well. Next, add the risotto and another two tablespoons of olive oil and mix to coat the risotto with the olive oil.  After another minute or so, add the white cooking wine, cherry tomatoes and tomato paste to the pan. Cook for about five minutes over medium-high heat before adding the chicken broth. You don't want to add the chicken broth until the wine has reduced by half. Then, add the first cup of the chicken stock.  As my husband, Brad explained in a previous post, add the chicken stock one cup at a time (and not all at once). Allow the first cup of chicken stock to reduce by half before adding the second cup, and so on. This allows you to make sure that there is always some chicken stock mixed in with the other ingredients and keeps the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pan. The entire adding, reducing and stirring process should take about 20-25 minutes. When you add the last cup of stock, allow it to reduce completely. Then stir in the pine nuts and grated parmesan cheese.  I also added the shrimp at this point, which I cooked separately in a pan using the Shop-Rite extra virgin olive oil.  This was delicious, but if you prefer a vegetarian dish, feel free to leave them out - the cherry tomatoes can completely carry this dish!  The risotto tasted great, and is such a pretty color too!



  1. Yummmmm!

    I totally have known your blog for ages. Hehe. Funny!!! I can be so silly over remembering blog names, but when I see the blog, I totally know your blog.

    It was such a great pleasure meeting you!

    This looks delicious! Yumm!

  2. This looks delicious and SOOO beautiful.


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