Tomato Risotto w Slow Roasted Tomatoes

PREP TIME: 20mins


I love a good risotto, for me it is the perfect spoon food, right? Makes all that stirring worth while!

Rich tomato sauce (which only takes 15 minute to make), slow roasted cherry tomatoes and mascarpone ensures a ‘proper’ tasting risotto that the whole family will enjoy.

I love the little pocket of flavour bursts from the cherry tomatoes which I stir through the risotto!

Even thought you need some time to make a risotto from scratch, I often make this version when I run out of meal ideas as I will probably have a jar of quick tomato sauce and pesto in the freezer and some stock paste in my fridge.

You can keep the risotto as simple or as ‘jazzed’ up as you like. All the toppings can be served on the side for those (like my kids) who don’t love the idea of cherry tomatoes.

There is ONE RULE though – Risotto waits for no one – gather the family around the table and let them wait for the risotto rather than the risotto waiting for them! Better yet, let the kids stir while you have a glass of wine!

Getting Ahead: You can prepare the tomato sauce and pesto ahead (or grab a jar from your freezer) as well as the slow roasted cherry tomatoes

Leftovers: there will not be any left : ) but if for some miracle there is, why not have a go at making some arancini balls?

Serves 4

What you'll need:

a medium saucepan and a ladle or cup


  • 200g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil or 75g butter (or 1/2 a mixture of both)
  • 1 large onion, peeled & finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced or thinly sliced
  • handful basil, leaves removed, stalks chopped, leaves chopped
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 300g carnaroli rice (see note)
  • 1 litre hot strong veggie stock
  • 400g batch quick homemade tomato sauce or 2 cans whole peeled tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons mascarpone (opt)
  • parmesan cheese for a topping (opt)
  • salt & pepper
  • 2 tablespoons of pine nuts as a topping (opt)

Topping: Pesto

  • 3 handfuls basil leaves (no stalks)
  • 1/2 garlic clove
  • 1/4 cup pinenuts
  • 1/4 parmesan (opt)
  • lemon zest
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper


  1. Tomato Topping: Pre-heat the oven to 150c, place the tomato halves on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt & pepper. Roast in the oven for about 40minutes until the tomatoes look ‘jammy’ and they are starting to caramelise around the edges. Set aside.
  2. Pesto: Meanwhile make the pesto by pounding the basil, garlic and pine nuts together until a paste forms (a food processor works well too), now add enough oil to from a spoonable  ‘pesto paste’, add the parmesan if using, some lemon zest to taste and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a medium saucepan heat your olive oil or butter over a medium heat, add the onions and basil stalks and gently fry until the onions are soft. Ideally we don’t want any colour on the onions. Keeping the lid on while the onions cook will help to prevent colour.
  4. While the onions are cooking, heat your stock and keep the stock hot and close by to the onion mixture.
  5. Once the onions are soft, add the garlic and stir until fragrant about 3 minutes, now add the tomato paste and stir.
  6. Add the risotto rice and stir, coating the rice with the onions and garlic mixture.
  7. Start by adding your stock, ladle by ladle and only adding the next ladle full once the liquid has been absorbed. Stirring continuously – this is really important, show your risotto some love or better get one of the kids to stir! (In summary, one lade, stir, stir and stir, next ladle etc)
  8. The rice will slowly start to absorb the liquid and swell and soften, this will take a good 15 minutes so hang in there. Keep on tasting the rice, ideally we are looking for ‘al dente’ here, meaning soft but still with a slight bite. You might not use all the stock.
  9. When most of the liquid is absorbed the rice should look thick and creamy, now add the tomato sauce and stir through. You can also add a few roasted cherry tomatoes to the risotto as well. Stir until the warmed through.
  10. Call everyone to the table! Risotto waits for no one!
  11. Add the mascarpone, 1 teaspoon of salt and a good grind of pepper. Taste and adjust.
  12. Dollop with pesto, roasted cherry tomatoes and some parmesan if using. Enjoy!

Kitchen Notes:

The 2 most commonly used rice for Risotto’s are:

  1. Carnaroli. called the “king” of risotto rice because of the fact that its more creamy and holds it shape well.
  2. Arborio. This variety of rice is not as starchy as carnaroli, but it is the most widely available.

Use what you can get your hand on, but if you have a choice, opt for carnaroli.

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