CLASSIC pasta risotto with tomato sauce









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We have always believed that a wonderful tomato sauce would be perfect with risotto. We did remember having such a fragrant and mouth-watering dish in a lovely inn outside of Vicenza. Here is our reconstruction of that dish.

Any tomato sauce will work, obviously. But we believe the optimum is a very simple and buttery sauce, such as Marcella #3. (see sauces). But all of these tomato sauces are delightful.


  • one and one-quarter cups of Arborio rice (or the two other approved varieties)
  • five cups of chicken stock
  • one small onion, finely diced
  • three tablespoons of olive oil
  • one-half cup dry white wine
  • two tablespoons of chopped thyme
  • three tablespoons plus two tablespoons of freshly made tomato sauce
  • one-half cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • one tablespoon of chopped parsley
  • one tablespoon of butter
  • salt and pepper

to cook: (a more detailed and elaborate description of the risotto cooking technique can be found at how to cook risotto).

Bring the stock to a slow simmer in a pan next to the risotto pan. In a thick-bottomed pan (the risotto pan), over medium-high heat: add the olive oil. Add the onion. Cook until soft. Add three tablespoons of tomato sauce and the chopped thyme. Add the rice and stir until each grain is coated with the olive oil. Add the white wine. Cook and stir until it is absorbed by the rice, about two minutes. Add salt. Now add the hot stock, ladle by ladle, only adding another ladle when the previous ladle of liquid has been absorbed, stirring almost all of the time. Continue adding the ladles of stock until the rice is properly done: twenty minutes or so.

Determine proper doneness by tasting regularly. When it is just al dente, with a little creaminess, it is ready. 

Take off the heat. Add the last two tablespoons of tomato sauce and the tablespoon of chopped parsley, Stir in the parmesan, and the tablespoon of butter. Taste for salt.  Stir well. We let it sit, covered, for a minute or two. Serve.



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