- 1 shallot, minced weighing 2 ounces
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup aborio rice
- 1 Teaspoon sea salt
- 2 1/2 – 3 cups water
- 1/2 cup creme fraiche
- sea salt to taste at the end of cooking
- 1–2 Tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice, to taste
- 12 ounces heirloom or cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered to make bite sized pieces
- 6 big leaves of basil thinly sliced (1/4 cup loose pack slivers of basil)
- olive oil for drizzling
- coarse sea salt to sprinkle over the top (sometimes called finishing salt – see notes)
- Place a large saucepan or small pot, (around 9″ in diameter) over medium heat.
- Add the olive oil and minced shallot to the pan and sauté until the shallot is tender.
- Add the aborio rice to the pan and sauté until the rice turns slightly translucent. Then, begin to add the water in 1/2 cup increments. Stir vigorously for 30-45 seconds every few minutes, adding an additional 1/2 cup water only when the rice has completely absorbed it’s liquid.
- While the risotto cooks, prepare the tomato topping by mixing together the tomatoes and slivered basil together in a bowl. Set the mixture aside until the risotto has finished.
- Continue adding water in 1/2 cup increments and stirring the risotto until it’s tender, about 20 minutes. You may need more or less water than is called for in this recipe due to varying circumstances like the rate of evaporation. You’ll know the risotto is done when it’s doubled in size and the rice is tender, but with a small speck of white remaining in the center of the grain when you bite into it, (al’ dente just like pasta).
- When the risotto is finished take it off the heat and stir in the creme fraiche. Add additional sea salt to taste. This step is important because it will be very bland if you don’t add additional sea salt!
- Plate the risotto by spooning some into a pasta bowl, top with a generous amount of the tomato mixture, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with a finishing sea salt (see the notes about finishing salt).
- Serve immediately.
Finishing salts are fancy sea salts that add to the flavor, texture, and appearance of the dish. If you look closely at the tomato topping in the photos, you’ll notice little grains of finishing salt sprinkled over the top – I highly recommend trying it out because it really adds a punch!
It’s important to note that I got the idea to add creme fraiche to risotto from Amanda Hesser, (absolutely can’t take credit for an idea that good) in her book Cooking for Mr. Latte. It’s a fantastic idea, and I’ve been adding creme fraiche to all sorts of things ever since!
- Prep Time: 15 mins
- Cook Time: 30 mins