Tomato and spinach risotto with confit tomatoes and basil puree
Ingredients for the risotto
- 180 g arborio rice
- 1 tbsp sea salt
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 x 400 g tin organic chopped tomatoes
- 1 tbsp organic tomato puree
- 150 g organic spinach leaves, tough stalks removed, chopped
- 600 ml vegetable stock
- 25 g nutritional yeast
- 1/2 tsp dried basil
for the confit tomatoes
- 12 cherry tomatoes
- 3 garlic cloves, whole, skin on
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- approx 350 ml extra virgin olive oil
for the basil puree
Method for cooking
- Place the basil leaves, pistachio kernels, lemon juice, sea salt and olive oil in a blender and process to a smooth puree. Tip this puree into a bowl, cover and refrigerate.
- Pre-heat the oven to 140°C (275°F, gas mark 1). Place the cherry tomatoes in a small baking tray with the garlic cloves and thyme sprigs. Cover with the olive oil to a depth of 2 cm, so that the tomatoes are semi-submerged. Place in the pre-heated oven and cook until the tomatoes are tender but still keeping their shape, which will take about 20-25 minutes. Remove the tray from the oven and use a slotted spoon to gently remove the tomatoes and garlic cloves. Drain on kitchen paper and set to one side. When cool enough to handle, remove the roast garlic cloves from the tray and carefully squeeze the pulp out onto a small clean plate. Save the cooking oil. Some of it will be used in the risotto, the rest can be saved for use in dressings and other dishes.
- Pour the stock into a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to its lowest setting. Place a large frying pan or skillet over a medium heat and add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil that was used to confit the tomatoes. Once the oil is hot, add the onion and cook, stirring, until it is soft and translucent. Add the rice and the roast garlic pulp and cook, stirring, for a further 2 minutes. Stir in the sea salt, smoked paprika and dried basil before adding the chopped tomatoes, the tomato puree and a ladle of stock. Keep stirring, adding a ladleful of stock whenever the risotto appears dry. Continue to cook, adding stock a ladleful at a time in this way, until the rice is “al dente”, which will take about half an hour. Keep a ladleful of the stock in reserve.
- Add the chopped spinach, along with the reserved ladleful of stock. Cook, stirring, for a further two minutes by which time the spinach will have wilted. Stir in the nutritional yeast and remove from the heat.
- To serve, place a serving of the risotto in the middle of each plate (use a cooking ring to give it shape, if you have one). Surround with three “blobs” of the basil puree and carefully place a confit cherry tomato on the top of each blob of puree.
Recipe & photo from Steve Dent AKA The Circus Gardener’s Kitchen
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