Caprese Risotto with Roasted Tomatoes

Caprese Risotto with Roasted Tomatoes

Last week, I hit up a local farmer’s market here in Jersey City. Well, OK. I didn’t exactly go on purpose… My original plan was to get tacos nearby and go home. OK, fine, my original original plan was to go to the gym, but who’s judging?

Anyways, I got out of the train station after leaving work, and emerged to find there was a bustling farmer’s market going on right around the plaza where the station lets you out. And yeah, there turned out to be a taco truck there (I indulged, obviously, going through some serious #tacolife right now). But there were so many other yummy things, I had to look around while waiting for my tacos to be made for me. In the 5 minutes I had to scout around, I picked up an eggplant and a nice handful of locally grown Jersey plum tomatoes.

It took me a little while to figure out what to do with the tomatoes (I ended up just frying the eggplant in a bout of weekend hunger) but I finally settled on making a twist on the classic caprese salad, this time in a creamy, decadent risotto. I roasted the tomatoes to get as much flavor from them as possible, used fresh mozzarella, and beautiful fresh basil. I have to say this came out even better than I expected- I never have used fresh mozzarella in risotto before, and it added a nice creamy and melty texture to the whole dish that made it really something special.

I think that’s the magic of a caprese salad any way you make it- it always ends up being a dish that is more than the sum of its parts. Using the best ingredients you can find will definitely improve the quality of the dish, and I’ll be surprised if you can keep yourself from having seconds! ๐Ÿ™‚

Roasted Tomatoes

Caprese Risotto with Roasted Tomatoes
 
Prep time

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Serves: 4

Ingredients
For the Roasted Tomatoes:
  • 4 plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise with cores and seeds removed
  • 4 cloves garlic, unpeeled
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • kosher salt
For the risotto:
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped finely
  • 1 shallot, chopped finely
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 3½-4 cups chicken or vegetable broth, warmed over low heat
  • ½ cup fresh mozzarella
  • ½ cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • fresh basil for garnish

Instructions
  1. Make the roasted tomatoes and garlic: Preheat oven to 450ยฐ F. Arrange halved, cored tomatoes on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Drizzle tomatoes with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle a pinch of salt over each tomato. Rub the garlic cloves in olive oil and place on the pan with the tomatoes. Roast for 30 minutes, rotating the pan once in between. When tomatoes have shrunk and are cooked through, remove them and the garlic cloves from the oven and allow to cool while you make the rest of the risotto.
  2. Make the risotto: In a large pan, heat 3 tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped garlic, shallot, and thyme, and allow to cook for 3-4 minutes until the shallots start to become translucent. Be careful not to burn the garlic.
  3. Add the rice, and stir to coat in the oil. Season with salt, and allow the rice to “toast” for 2 minutes- this is adding a lot of flavor directly into the rice itself. Add the wine, and stir to loosen up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Allow to cook until wine is almost fully absorbed. Add ½ cup of the warmed broth and stir again. Continue to add broth, ½ cup at a time, once the previous addition is almost fully absorbed. Make sure you are stirring every few minutes or so as well.
  4. While the rice is cooking, carefully chop up your roasted tomatoes into ¼ inch pieces, and peel the roasted garlic and chop that up too.
  5. Once you feel the rice is cooked to the desired consistency (not crunchy, but somewhat creamy with a bite), add the roasted tomatoes and roasted garlic and stir. Add your mozzarella and parmesan, and stir again. The mozzarella will start to get stringy, but just keep stirring until everything is incorporated and it’s a lovely mess.
  6. Garnish with fresh basil, stir once more, and serve!

Happy Eating ๐Ÿ™‚
mally

Crispy Salmon with Arugula Pesto

Crispy Salmon with Arugula Pesto and Roasted Tomatoes

This might sound really weird, but some of the best salmon I’ve had is at steakhouses. I think it has something to do with those high-heat, 1500ยฐ ovens they use for the steaks. They make for a salmon croccante– super crispy and salty on the outside, nice and tender and just plain delicious on the inside!

The secret to the crispiness of this salmon is a hot broiler, a rack to keep the filet off the bottom of the baking sheet, and salt. Glorious, salty salt. Good, kosher salt. It’s the way to go!

I’m also obsessed with this arugula pesto. This recipe will definitely make more than you need for the fish, and it freezes and thaws perfectly. It’s light, tangy, and a perfect accompaniment to crispy salmon!

Arugula Pesto

Crispy Salmon with Arugula Pesto
 
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Serves: 2

Ingredients
  • 2 salmon filets
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • kosher salt
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 3 cups baby arugula
  • ½ cup firmly packed fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Instructions
  1. Pre-heat the broiler. Place the arugula, parsley, pine nuts, lemon juice, 3 tablespoons water, cheese, 1 tablespoon olive oil, and salt to taste in a food processor. Pulse until nice and pureed. Transfer to a bowl while you make the salmon.
  2. Rub your salmon filets with the remaining oil, using more if needed, and sprinkle liberally with kosher salt on both sides.
  3. Place a rack over a baking pan and lay the salmon on top. Broil for 5-7 minutes, flip carefully, then broil for another 5-7 minutes, until cooked through. You want the salmon to be nice and crispy on both sides
  4. Plate your fish, top with pesto and serve!

Salmon technique from How Sweet It Is, Arugula Pesto recipe adapted from Food Network.

Roasted Tomatoes with Arugula Pesto

I served this salmon alongside broiled tomatoes topped with some of the arugula pesto and italian breadcrumbs, and rice pilaf. A perfect meal for a perfect summer day!

Mile End Bakery cookies

And oh yeah, if you haven’t yet, enter my giveaway from last week for a dozen cookies from Mile End Bakery! Contest ends tonight at 11:59p ET!

Happy Eating ๐Ÿ™‚
mally

Speedy Noms: Roasted Broccoli

Roasted Broccoli

Sometimes, a girl’s gotta get her vegetables on.ย  Maybe you’ve overindulged in too much crack pie, or pudding, or even too many pancakes. Not that I’ve ever done one all of these things. And with St Patrick’s Day coming up, this not only is bright and green, but it also serves as a great detox-er for those who … um… love this holiday a little too much!

This recipe comes from Alton Brown, one of my favorite chefs on Food Network. I really love the addition of toasted panko here- adds a real nice crunch to this side dish. [Read more…]