Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Daring Cooks' Risotto with Creamy Tomato Sauce

The 2010 March Daring Cooks challenge was hosted by Eleanor of MelbournefoodGeek and Jess of Jessthebaker. They chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make risotto. The various components of their challenge recipe are based on input from the Australian Masterchef cookbook and the cookbook Moorish by Greg Malouf.

I've been putting off this month's challenge due to all the stress that comes w/ exams, but i finally got down to it last night! It also helped to know that our hosts, Eleanor and Jess, gave us a lot of freedom coming up with our own variations of Risotto... sparing me the panic of looking for ingredients at the last minute. So without the month-long research that I usually take to decide on my challenge variation, i decided to just dive in and give Risotto "Osteria" a try. You see, JLo and I are loyal customers to this pizza delivery/restaurant called "Osteria" near our dorm, and one of their best dishes is their trademark risotto. I tried to recreate the dish from what i could remember and although the taste wasn't 100% identical, I was pretty satisfied with the end result. This risotto is made with chicken, broccoli, marinated red peppers, and mushrooms... then coated with a thick layer of creamy tomato sauce. So if you're ever considering making a tomato-based risotto, be sure to give this Osteria medley a try!

Risotto with Creamy Tomato Sauce
  • Creamy Tomato Sauce:
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/3 cup mascarpone cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon sugar, or to taste
  • Salt & pepper to taste

  • Risotto Base:
  • 60 mL olive oil (2 fluid oz)
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 400g Arborio rice (14 oz)
  • 60 mL white wine (2 fluid oz)
  • 1 liter chicken or vegetable stock, simmering [recipe below]
  • Additions:
  • Chicken breasts, cooked
  • Button mushrooms, diced
  • Marinated red peppers, sliced
  • Fresh broccoli, cut into small pieces

Creamy Tomato Sauce
  1. Heat the tomato sauce in a small pot.
  2. Add in the mascarpone cheese and stir until it becomes salmon pink in color.
  3. Season with basil, oregano, sugar, salt, and pepper. Set Aside.
Risotto Base:
  1. Heat oil in a pan and add onion. Fry for a few minutes to flavour the oil then discard. (We diced ours and left it in as we like onion) [picture 1].
  2. Add the rice and stir for a few minutes to coat each grain of rice with oil and toast slightly [picture 2].
  3. Add the wine and let it bubble away until evaporated.
  4. Add enough stock to cover the rice by a finger’s width (about an inch or two) [picture 3]. Don't actually stick your finger in, it will be hot. Just eye it off.
  5. Cook on medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon from time to time, until most of the stock has been absorbed.
  6. Repeat Step 5 making sure to leave aside approximately 100 ml of stock for the final step.
  7. Repeat, save 100ml for the final stage.
  8. Once you are at this point, the base is made. You now get to add your own variation.
  1. Once the risotto base is done, add in the chicken, mushrooms, red peppers, and broccoli [picture 4].
  2. Pour in the Creamy Tomato Sauce and stir until the liquid is absorbed and vegetables heated through [picture 5, 6].
Risotto with Creamy Tomato Sauce

Chicken Stock
  • 1 large chicken 2-3 pounds (about 1 kg)
  • Chicken bones 2-3 pounds (about 1 kg)
  • 2 onions, roughly diced
  • 1 medium leek - white part only, roughly diced
  • 2 sticks celery, roughly diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, halved
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp. white peppercorns ( Any type of whole peppercorn will do)
  • 2 bay leaves (fresh or dried, it doesn't matter.)
  • peel of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  1. Wash the chicken and bones and places in a 5 Litre pot, cover completely with water and bring to a boil
  2. Skim away any scum as it comes to the surface
  3. Add the vegetables and bring back to a boil
  4. Add the rest remaining ingredients and simmer very gently, uncovered for 1.5 hours
  5. Carefully lift out the chicken, set aside. The chicken meat can be removed from the chicken, shredded off and used for other things like soup!
  6. Simmer the stock gently for another hour. At , at the end you should have around 2 Liters
  7. Carefully ladle the liquid into a fine sieve, the less the bones and vegetables are disturbed in this process the clearer the stock will be. 
The stock is now ready for use. Freeze what you don't need for later use.


  1. Yummy looking risotto! I love the step-by-step pictures :)

  2. This looks so hearty and delicious! Come to think of it, I've made many different kinds of risotto, but never tomato-based... Hmmm... Anyways, great job!

  3. This is really beautiful. You did a wonderful job with the challenge. I stopped by just to see your dish for DC challenge, but stayed longer than I planned. You have a great blog and I'll be back often to see what you are cooking up. Have a fabulous day.

  4. Sorry for the stress with exams (boy, do I remember those days too well!), but I bet your risotto was very comforting! It looks beautiful and sounds very satisfying!

  5. Beautiful and delicious looking risotto! Your risotto reminds me that I was thinking of doing a risotto alla vodka and forgot all about it! That's what your creamy tomato sauce reminds me of..yum!

  6. I'm glad someone else was done at the last minute. The tomato sauce sounds like a great addition to the risotto. I don't know what your research would have resulted in but this looks awesome!

    P.S. I made thin mints last night too so I wasn't that good after the run. ;)

  7. I absolutely love your Osteria medley risotto it looks so delicious and it is so full of veggies well done and the photos are smashing I really love that last photo it is so bright and vibrant. Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

  8. I can see why you patronize "Osteria" from the photos. Simply luscious and creamy...

    Beautiful and inviting pictures..

    Sawadee from Bangkok,

  9. I;m such a risotto fan but because it's usually sooo creamy, it gets me sick quite quickly and then makes dessert an impossible option.

    I love how yours had tomato to lighten the flavours up and all the delicious veggies! Awesome job on your first attempt at the copycat recipe! :) I usually just throw in the towel and go back to the place I've had it, and just order it! hehe

  10. One of the best combination. I like the addition of the mascarpone cheese. I also like the step by step shots.

  11. I love all the pictures, and your risotto looks incredible! Great job on the challenge!

  12. Wow! Your risotto looks amazing, and the tomato sauce sounds divine! :)

  13. Hello,

    We bumped into your blog and we really liked it - great recipes YUM YUM.
    We would like to add it to the Petitchef.com.

    We would be delighted if you could add your blog to Petitchef so that our users can, as us,
    enjoy your recipes.

    Petitchef is a french based Cooking recipes Portal. Several hundred Blogs are already members
    and benefit from their exposure on Petitchef.com.

    To add your site to the Petitchef family you can use http://en.petitchef.com/?obj=front&action=site_ajout_form or just go to Petitchef.com and click on "Add your site"

    Best regards,