Donkey Risotto with Fresh Basil Oil and Roasted Tomatoes

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One of my favorite shows is Hell’s Kitchen!  Chef Ramsey isn’t going to call me a Donkey!

In Hell’s Kitchen they always serve a Risotto as an appetizer at all of their dinner services.  We had never heard of a Risotto before, so I looked it up and it’s a fancy rice dish.  I just had to try it out.  In my online cooking class there is a whole set of lessons just for cooking the perfect Risotto.  So this is what I’ve learned.

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Donkey Risotto with Basil Oil and Roasted Tomatoes


5 cups Chicken Stock
1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1/2 cup Onions, finely minced
2 cloves Garlic, finely minced
8 ounces Mozzarella Cheese
1 cup Risotto Rice (I used Arborio Rice)
2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons Extra-Virgin Olive oil, divided
1/4 cup extra dry Vermouth


Fresh Basil Oil Recipe

Roasted Tomatoes

1 package Grape Tomatoes
Sea Salt
Extra-Virgin Olive Oil


Roasting the Tomatoes

Preheat the oven to 250F degrees.

Cut the grape tomatoes in half.Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, and put the tomatoes on the parchment paper.

Lightly sprinkle the tomatoes with sea salt. Make sure that each tomato gets a little bit of sea salt on it.

Drizzle the tomatoes with olive oil.

Place the tomatoes in the preheated oven at 250F degrees for 2 hours or until they shrivel up and look concentrated.

Heat up the broth. Bring it to boil and turn it back to low. Make sure you have it heated all the time.

Sweating the Onions

Prior to making the risotto, mince the garlic and mince the onions. They need to be finely minced, about the same size as the Risotto Rice.

Use a heavy bottom skillet or a cast iron skillet. Heat the olive oil. Add the onions and a pinch of salt. Sweat the onions on medium low to medium. It may take 10 to 15 minutes. Once the onions are translucent, add a 1/4 cup of broth. Continue to cook until the liquid is evaporated.

Toasting the Rice

Once the liquids are evaporated. Turn up the heat to medium high. Add all of the rice. Stir the rice and the oil to coat each and every grain of rice. This is actually to protect the rice from burning.

Toast the rice but don’t let it change the color like a roasted color. Stir the rice until it becomes a little translucent.

Deglazing the Rice

Once the rice is toasted. Add garlic. Stir it until it becomes ar-omatic or you can start to smell the garlic cooking. That should take about 30 seconds.

Add the extra-dry Vermouth. Stir until all the Vermouth has evaporated.

Making the Risotto

Start to add broth, 1 cup at a time. Stir the rice don’t add more broth until this is all absorbed. You can use a homemade chicken stock or a canned or boxed chicken broth. Low or no sodium added.

The way you know when to add the next cup of broth is by making a track in the rice. There will be no liquid in the track. Add another full cup of broth to the rice. The reason we’re adding 1 cup at a time is because you don’t want it to be too soupy. Also releasing the starch in a slower manner to create a creamier Risotto.

After adding the 4th cup of broth, you can see it is starting to get creamy and the rice is starting to puff up.

Start tasting at this point to cook to your preference. Some people want it al dente, which means it still got a little crunch to it, while others want it softer. Also taste to add more salt to your preference.

Finishing the Risotto

The Risotto should be a creamy texture cooked to your preference.

Turn the heat off, add olive oil. Stir. Add Mozzarella Cheese on top of the Risotto. Cover and let rest, the mozzarella cheese will melt.

The way you can tell if the Risotto is perfectly cooked, is when you put it on the plate and when you shake it, the Risotto should spread out just a little bit. Not stay formed, nor should it run on the plate.

Place some of the roasted tomatoes on top of the Risotto and drizzle with the fresh Basil Oil.

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