A fresh dish with summer tomatoes acts as a referee between two Mediterranean neighbours, Greece and Italy: delicious risotto with tomato and feta. As we mentioned before, risotto is not just another dish, but a whole culture and the variations that spring from it are infinite. You can easily make your own variation using your favourite ingredients, as long as you follow the right steps. In this dish, feta, with its very Greek flavour and distinctive slightly sour taste, goes well with the risotto. This intense white cheese, that stands out and monopolizes the combination with the tomato, bonds amazingly with the thickened rice (all’ onda), and the wedding with the Italian risotto is made strong.
Even though our neighbours the Italians prefer risotto as a starter, being raised with the “bad” carbohydrates, we can also serve the dish as a vegetarian main course, after making tasty additions to intensify it, and give it the opportunity to stand as triumphant protagonist.
The addition of rocket (arugula) gives the dish an extra spiciness and completes the wonderful Mediterranean combination. For more experiments with other types of cheese, try the risotto version with mozzarella or the extra gourmet approach with grapefruit and Parmigiano.
Risotto with tomato and feta
Preparation: 10 minutes, plus 20 minutes approx. for cooking. To peel the tomatoes easily, blanch them for half a minute into boiling water and remove the skin. Remember to check the 3 steps of the Risotto all’ Onda. Easy and quick recipe.
Ingredients (serves 4, as a starter)
5 cups of vegetable stock
½ cup dry white wine
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1/3 cup white onion, finely chopped
1½ cup Carnaroli or Vialone or Arborio rice
3 medium tomatoes, peeled, cut in small cubes
100 gr feta cheese, crumbled
1 tsp unsalted butter
4-5 rocket (arugula) leaves, chopped
¼ cup freshly grated Parmezan cheese (optional)
salt and freshly ground pepper
4 basil tips, for serving
1. Brodo: Pour the stock into a small saucepan and keep hot (almost simmering point), on a steady heat.
2. Soffritto: Heat the butter and olive oil in a pan on a medium heat. Add the onion and sauté for 1-2 minutes until soft but not brown.
3. Riso: Add the rice and stir with a wooden spoon for 1-2 minute until all grains are coated with the soffrito butter-oil mixture. Pour the wine and stir until fully absorbed.
4. Condimenti: Add the tomatoes and their juice, stirring constantly. Begin adding the hot stock, ½ a cup at a time, stirring. The heat should be medium to low, depending on your cooker, and should be steady throughout cooking.
Wait for the stock to be almost completely absorbed before adding the next cup. Repeat the procedure with the rest of the stock, and stir continuously to avoid the rice sticking. Keep 1/3 cup of stock aside.
After approximately 18 minutes (15 minutes if you use Vialone Nano rice), when rice has soften but remains firm, pour the reserved stock. Remove immediately from the heat and add butter, feta cheese, rocket, Parmezan cheese (if using) and freshly ground pepper. Taste and, if necessary, season with salt. Stir quickly so that all ingredients will get incorporated into the rice.
To serve: Serve the risotto with tomato and feta cheese on a warm (depending on the season) platter or 4 plates and top with the basil tips.