Tomato and Basil Risotto

Tomato and Basil Risotto

Risotto is a dish unbound by season. As with minestrone (see me recipes for autumn and spring), the best seasonal produce can be used to great effect in this famous Italian rice dish. There is no ingredient on earth that can’t be put to bewilderingly good use in risotto, a fact that makes it very special and probably unique. Indeed, to celebrate the beginning of the British tomato season, this recipe for Tomato and Basil Risotto makes full use of the fruit’s flavour, texture and colour. Delicious is an understatement.

It can be tricky to know when to add tomatoes to a dish. For instance, if you add them at the beginning they tend to break down and form a sweet sauce, whereas if you add them near the end they retain most of their juicy plumpness and bite. When preparing a dish based on fresh tomatoes I always have a good ponder about what the end result should be – planning ahead like this is a must. In the case of this Tomato and Basil Risotto I thought it best to go somewhere in between sauce and fresh. Doing so means the tomato colours the risotto and conveys some of its sweetness, which works very well with the basil, while also providing little pockets of juicy deliciousness in every mouthful.

Tomato and Basil Risotto

Tomato and basil is a timeless combination – the sweetness and fragrance of each of them simply works so well in tandem. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the arrival of summer weather than this risotto. Having said that, do you have any combinations you feel would top this? Impress me!

Tomato and Basil Risotto

Tomato and Basil Risotto

Serves 4-6


• 350g arborio rice, or similar

• 1 onion, finely chopped

• 2 cloves of garlic, mashed

• Olive oil

• 1.2 litres chicken stock

• 200ml white wine, preferably dry

• 400g fresh cherry or small plum tomatoes, halved

• A handful of basil, roughly torn

• 50g salted butter

• A handful of parmesan cheese


1. Begin by sautéing the onion and garlic in a little olive oil. Once translucent add the rice and cook for a minute or so, stirring frequently. Add the wine and cook out, begin adding the stock one ladle at a time stirring all the while.

Tomato and Basil Risotto

2. Once two thirds of the stock has been used add the tomatoes, keep stirring and adding the stock until the rice is al dente. Throw in the basil, butter and cheese and set aside (off the heat) with the lid on for 3 minutes. Season and serve with a little extra basil.

Tomato and Basil Risotto

Cost: The great thing about tomatoes starting to come into season is that they can be bought for an extremely reasonable price. We got around 800g of cherry tomatoes for £1.50, a price not to be sniffed at. As such, this dish should set you back no more than around £4.


  • 0

    Overall Score

  • Reader Rating: 0 Votes

You May Also Like

45 comments on “Tomato and Basil Risotto

  1. Chica Andaluzac
    June 9, 2013 at 5:12 pm

    What beautiful tomatoes and a stunning risotto!

  2. countrywoodsmoke
    June 9, 2013 at 5:39 pm

    Beautiful, what a cracking risotto, lovely fresh flavours that match the time of year, my usual is milanese or mushroom, but will try this one now. Have always wanted to do a bone marrow risotto, have heard it’s very good.

  3. lovinghomemade
    June 9, 2013 at 5:41 pm

    I have tried tomatoes in risotto but put them in the oven to roast and then added them near the end. Yours sounds absolutely delicious, will be trying it, thanks!

  4. musingmar
    June 9, 2013 at 5:58 pm

    A beautiful dish to celebratesummer’s bounty, or indeed that of any season.

  5. Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide
    June 9, 2013 at 7:24 pm

    Very nice looking risotto. I can’t wait for my tomatoes to ripen.

  6. beingmeyear
    June 9, 2013 at 7:38 pm

    Ooh, that looks nice – love tomato season!

  7. Sarah @ The Cook's Life
    June 9, 2013 at 8:14 pm

    I love risotto! We haven’t played much with the flavors beyond our favorite tomato and mozzarella version. I use all olive oil – no butter. We have another few weeks until tomato season here in the Midwest. I can’t wait!

  8. baconbiscuit212
    June 9, 2013 at 8:38 pm

    Very beautiful, Nick! Baby basil leaves are so cute!

  9. Jepson Jennifer
    June 9, 2013 at 9:51 pm

    Perfect timing. I’ve just been given a punnet full of cherry tomatoes, and love risotto. So I can’t wait either. Bellissimo!

  10. daisy |
    June 9, 2013 at 10:51 pm

    What a lovely seasonal dish! It looks so light and delicious. The tomatoes look perfectly cooked, as you said, somewhere between sauce and fresh. Well done!


  11. Michelle
    June 9, 2013 at 11:53 pm

    Love the baby basil leaves!

  12. Kara
    June 10, 2013 at 2:09 am

    So true. Risotto is a great canvas for fresh ingredients. Lovely post.

  13. klmv
    June 10, 2013 at 10:35 am

    My windowsill basil just got big enough to use… I know where I’ll be using it now! 🙂 Looks so yummy!

  14. All You Do Is Eat
    June 10, 2013 at 10:51 am

    Yum!! I just ate tomato and zucchini risotto – what funny timing!!

  15. cookinginsens
    June 10, 2013 at 11:09 am

    Those tomatoes are gorgeous! What happened to your “like” button?

    • frugalfeeding
      July 8, 2013 at 10:29 pm

      Like buttons seem a little too “new age” and fickle… I prefer a good ol’ comment!

  16. thelittleloaf
    June 10, 2013 at 1:41 pm

    I remember reading in one of Jamie Oliver’s books how he was dubious about tomato in risotto, but that it really works. The texture of yours looks lovely, yum.

    • frugalfeeding
      July 8, 2013 at 10:29 pm

      I am too, but if you do it right, it does work well.

  17. Nicki Van
    June 10, 2013 at 2:13 pm

    It looks delicious! I can’t wait to try this one… especially since my frugal eating has left me stuck in a boring pasta rotation.

  18. mittsandmeasures
    June 10, 2013 at 2:59 pm

    I absolutely love risotto and can’t believe I’ve never tried it this way! I’ll be making this soon!

  19. Green Door Hospitality
    June 10, 2013 at 3:05 pm

    Perfect for summer!!

  20. Leslie Chapman
    June 10, 2013 at 3:11 pm

    Yum I will have to try this recipe, I love risotto.

  21. Karista
    June 10, 2013 at 4:02 pm

    This looks delicious Frugal! Love fresh summer tomatoes and combined with fresh basil this makes the perfect summer risotto. Beautiful photographs, makes me want a dish right now. 🙂 Have a lovely week!

  22. Miss P
    June 10, 2013 at 4:12 pm


  23. Korena in the Kitchen
    June 10, 2013 at 7:12 pm

    Oh, I think I need to make this with oven roasted tomatoes, and maybe some lemon zest too… delicious! Thanks for the inspiration Nick.

  24. ambrosiana
    June 10, 2013 at 9:51 pm

    That is a beautiful looking risotto! I love the detail of the small, fresh basil leaves on top. The fresh tomato shot is wonderful!

  25. fleurdeselsf
    June 11, 2013 at 3:01 pm

    This looks absolutely delicious, and so perfect for summer!

    • frugalfeeding
      July 8, 2013 at 10:27 pm

      Thanks – definitely good for this hot weather.

  26. Jayne Carver
    June 11, 2013 at 4:09 pm

    This wonderful risotto dish combines three of my favorite summer ingredients – fresh corn. vine-ripened tomatoes, and basil.

  27. Sasha
    June 12, 2013 at 4:53 pm

    This looks so wonderful. Risotto is really an incredible dish. I’ve even made it with regular white rice instead of arborio and it was still amazing. I’ve also made it with cheddar cheese and it was surprisingly successful 🙂

    • frugalfeeding
      July 8, 2013 at 10:27 pm

      I’ve made one with cheddar before – cheddar has such a good flavour!

  28. Liz
    June 12, 2013 at 9:22 pm

    Had this for dinner tonight, yum yum in my tum. I also added some chickpeas, courgettes and peas. The tomatoes were a lovely addition I wouldn’t have thought of. Thank you for a lovely recipe.

  29. Stephanie
    June 13, 2013 at 6:29 am

    I LOVE risotto! So satisfying. The stirring is a bit tiresome, but definitely worth it! Gorgeous photos as always!

    • frugalfeeding
      July 8, 2013 at 10:26 pm

      I don’t stir it as much people say to and it’s always amazing 😀

  30. Sawsan@ Chef in disguise
    June 19, 2013 at 8:42 am

    I love risotto, so versatile, just change the vegetables and enjoy a new and refreshing recipe everytime. Your combination of flavors is really tempting!

  31. soffiagudrun
    June 24, 2013 at 1:09 pm

    must try this! Once I took yesterdays risotto and heated it up on a frying pan with a little bit of olive oil and with yesterdays shredded chicken. I recommend frying leftover risotto. ( I was gonna make risotto balls but the balls fell a part 😛

    • frugalfeeding
      July 8, 2013 at 8:25 pm

      Great idea! I’ll have to try it. Arancini are delicious.

  32. Jamal Sutton
    July 2, 2013 at 3:37 am

    I can’t believe I’ve never thought of this before. Tomatoes basil and Risotto are on the list of my favorite things in the history of the world. You are a genius. I can’t wait to try this with home grown tomatoes and basil. Thank you thank you thank you!

  33. silver price
    July 2, 2013 at 3:59 pm

    I can’t believe I’ve never thought of this before. Tomatoes basil and Risotto are on the list of my favorite things in the history of the world. You are a genius. I can’t wait to try this with home grown tomatoes and basil. Thank you thank you thank you!

  34. Bethany Q. Mckee
    August 5, 2013 at 3:21 am

    I can’t believe I’ve never thought of this before. Tomatoes basil and Risotto are on the list of my favorite things in the history of the world. You are a genius. I can’t wait to try this with home grown tomatoes and basil. Thank you thank you thank you!

If you like my recipes, photos or food please leave a comment here...