Ciao'd while celebrating the Giants' win by a field goal. Whew.
CHERRY TOMATO RISOTTO WITH ARUGULA
AND SMOKED MOZZARELLA
Arborio and Carnaroli are special varieties of rice with a starchy outer layer. They are preferred for risotto because they absorb liquid while releasing some of their starch into it, giving the risotto a creamy texture. This recipe is easy and pretty, especially when made with cherry tomatoes in a variety of colors, a confetti of goodness.
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
¼ cup chopped fresh basil
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large shallot, minced
1 cup Carnaroli or Arborio rice
1 garlic clove, chopped
½ cup dry white wine
2 cups baby arugula
¾ cup diced smoked mozzarella
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring the broth just to a simmer; reduce the heat to low and keep warm.
In a medium bowl, stir together the tomatoes, basil, 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and salt and pepper, to taste; reserve.
In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1 tablespoon of the butter over medium heat. Add the shallot and cook, stirring frequently, until translucent. Add the rice and the garlic, stir to coat with the olive oil and butter, and cook, stirring, until the rice is translucent with a white dot in the center, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the wine and stir until it is absorbed, about 2 minutes.
Add 2 cups of the warm broth and cook, stirring frequently, until absorbed, 5 to 7 minutes. Continue cooking, adding broth 1 cup at a time and stirring frequently, until the liquid is almost completely absorbed before adding more. When the rice begins to plump and soften but remains slightly firm to the bite, about 15 minutes, stir in the tomato mixture. (You may not use all the broth.) Continue cooking until the tomatoes are heated through and the rice is al dente, about 2 minutes more.
Remove the risotto from the heat and gently stir in the remaining butter, arugula, and smoked mozzarella. The cheese should not be entirely melted. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.