Friday, August 28, 2015

Two lists

Things I am doing wrong*, according to my daughter:
  1. Hashtags
  2. Instagram
  3. Using Android instead of an iPhone
  4. Presuming to check in and see how the summer reading is going
  5. Cheering out loud at her soccer games
  6. Wanting the empty fruit snack wrappers to be in the trash
  7. Making friends with her friends' parents
  8. Asking her to speak to waiters 
  9. Singing along to the radio when it is on her station
  10. Breathing
Things I am doing right, according to me:
  1. Raising my daughter.
Summer Tomato Risotto | Cheesy Pennies

Also, risotto.

Summer Tomato Risotto
Summer Tomato Risotto | Cheesy Pennies
by Sharon Graves
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Inspired by a14 year old LA Times recipe**, the last of our garden tomatoes, and some further online research, I cooked up the end-of-summer bounty into this outstanding risotto. It's light, bright, creamy and perfect for a soon-to-be fall evening.  If you are lucky, your daughter may even ask for seconds.
  • 1 1/2 pounds ripe, juicy summer tomatoes
  • a splash of good olive oil
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced (you'll use 1/2 for tomatoes, 1/2 for the rice)
  • 3 Tbs. butter
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and diced
  • 1 heaping cup of Arborio rice
  • 1/4 c. dry white wine
  • 1 quart (4 c.) vegetable stock
  • 1/2 c. finely grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
  • 1 heaping Tbs. tomato jam, optional***. 
  • handful of fresh basil leaves, chopped

Prep the tomatoes first.

Peeling: Set a large pot of water to boil, and then fill a large bowl or another pot with ice water. Cut an "X" in the bottom of each tomato with a sharp knife. Place the tomatoes in the boiling water for 30 seconds, or until you see the skin just beginning to curl back from the edges of the cut. Transfer to the ice water. You should now be able to easily remove the skins.

Blanching Tomatoes | Cheesy Pennies

Chopping: Get out a cutting board, along with a strainer placed over a large bowl. Core the tomatoes, and cut into wedges. Use your fingers to remove most of the seeds, holding the wedges over the strainer and bowl so you capture the juice as you go. Chop the seeded wedges into roughly 1 inch pieces, and add any extra juice from the cutting board to your bowl of juices. Discard the seeds, but hang onto that bowl of juice.

Pan roasting: Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add tomatoes, 1/2 of the chopped garlic, and a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until tomatoes have released more juice and everything smells super yummy, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Now the risotto:

If you haven't already put your stock on to warm, do that now. Add the reserved tomato juices, and bring the whole thing up to a gentle simmer.

In a heavy skillet, heat the butter over medium heat, adding the onions with a light sprinkling of salt and pepper. Saute until the onions are soft and clear, about 3 minutes. Blend in the remaining garlic and the rice, and cook for 3 more minutes, stirring often.

Raise the heat to medium high. Stir in the wine, and cook until the liquid is absorbed. Begin adding the broth, a ladle-full at a time, simmering and stirring each addition until the liquid is absorbed by the rice before adding the next cup. After cooking in about 2/3 of the broth, add the tomatoes and any cooking liquid from that pan, along with the tomato jam, if you have it, then keep going with broth after that.

You will know it is ready when the rice is close to tender, with a little more firmness to the bite than you would like, and it should be almost soupy. You may or may not use all of the broth. As a guideline, total cooking time after you begin adding liquid to the rice should be about 15 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat, stir in the Parmesan cheese and half the chopped basil, and let stand for 3 minutes. The risotto will finish cooking and absorb a little more liquid as it rests.

Ladle into bowls and serve with remaining basil and more Parmesan cheese on top.  Creamy, dreamy, wonderful!

Summer Tomato Risotto | Cheesy Pennies

Do Ahead Tip: You can prep the tomatoes ahead of time, and then just cook the risotto before serving.

Summer Tomato Risotto | Cheesy Pennies

* I am, apparently, OK at owning shoes she borrows all the time, making cookies for her advisory group meetings at the last minute, and helping her get her driver's license, as I did with my son. Wasn't that like, last Tuesday?  What is happening?!?

Now she can spend even less time with me.

** Teenage things on the brain, I guess.
*** I happened to have some in the fridge. A small spoonful of tomato paste would probably work just as well.

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