Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Broiled Herbed Tomatoes in Risotto (semi- alla Milanese) Nests with a side of, fashion-squee?

Much like my first experience making polenta, I was nervous about making risotto for the first time. I had heard both were very much labors of love, requiring devoted attention and stir-power to keep from scorching the bottom of the pot. Thankfully, I've found that while both require attention and stirring, they're easy enough and worth the time.

The risotto recipe comes from A Cooking Affaire: A Collection of Classics by Jan Bertoglio and JoLe Hudson. I got the 1984, spiral-bound collection of recipes and sketches at the local library's book sale. So far, this is all I've tried out of it.

I should note that I made my own version of the risotto based on the ingredients I could get my hands on. For a risotto to be "alla Milanese" (meaning "of Milan" [Italy]), it will generally contain saffron and beef marrow, neither of which I could find in time for dinner.


  • 2 C Aborio (Italian rice)
  • 3/4 C dry white wine
  • 6 - 8 C hot chicken stock, preferably a top-grade canned broth if not homemade
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 C uncooked beef marrow
  • 1/4 tsp saffron, dissolved in 1 C of stock
  • 3/4 C freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 stick softened butter
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • EVOO to drizzle
  • Basil, rosemary and thyme to sprinkle on tomatoes
Directions for Risotto:
  1. Bring the stock to a simmer in a large pot and keep it hot over a low flame.
  2. In a heavy 3-quart saucepan, saute the chopped onion in butter until it is transparent but not brown. 
  3. Stir in rice and marrow and stir-cook until meat loses color and rice is glazed. 
  4. Pour in wine and cook, stirring until liquid is absorbed. Season with salt and pepper.

  5. Add simmering stock, 1 C at a time, stirring with each addition until liquid is absorbed.
  6. About halfway during the cooking time, add the 1 C in which the saffron has been dissolved. Then add liquid in smaller amounts, about 1/2 C at a time, and continue to stir. The risotto is ready when rice is held together in a creamy texture - yet each grain is al dente, firm. 
  7. Finish with softened butter and Parmesan cheese.
Directions for Tomatoes:
  1. Preheat broiler.
  2. Slice bottoms of tomatoes to create flat surfaces for them to rest upright and evenly in the baking pan. 
  3. Slice tops of tomatoes.

  4. Sit upright in baking pan. (An 8"x8" works fine.)
  5. Drizzle generous amount of EVOO over tomatoes.
  6. Sprinkle generous amounts of basil, rosemary and thyme over each.

  7. Broil on top rack for about 8 minutes, or until top begins to brown slightly. 
  8. Make a risotto "nest" in center of plate and place tomato in center.
Et voila!

Totally Random Sidenote: I'm not a magazine girl - never have been, don't forsee myself being one in the future either. I occasionally enjoy perusing awful headlines on covers in line at the grocery store, but I haven't subscribed to a magazine since high school (R.I.H::istory:: American Cheerleader). On a total whim, I found myself having to have a copy of the May 2010 InStyle magazine that hit shelves last Friday. Have you seen it?? I'm not even a huge fan of ScarJo, but gosh is this photo lovely! I adore pale neutrals and uber light pastels (coupled with whimsical materials) that compliment us lighter-complexioned ladies. 

For your viewing pleasure, and to provide me with a little dream-candy before I head to bed: 

1 comment:

  1. This risotto looks cool with the tomato on top. However the commissary never has good tomatoes. I have to agree that risotto is like cheesecake, everyone says it so difficult to make but it's really simple. Oh and love how you go from rice to dresses, priceless. I see a shopping trip in our near future. I still need to get something nice to wear for when I go to the Pentagon.