OLS Week 13: Caprese Risotto


It seems almost wrong that One Local Summer is ending just as the growing season is at its peak – with so much still to look forward to, and with no excuse to cook anything but completely local, ending the event seems almost premature. I wish there were a “One Local Fall” to carry on the tradition because we still have winter squash, apples and pears, and so much more ahead of us.

So it’s bittersweet that my last meal of this event is also my favorite. I’ve made lots of risotto this past year, but this one? Wow. This recipe (found on another food blog) brought out the flavor of the fresh ingredients – sungold tomatoes and basil picked right from my deck, fresh mozzarella from Blue Jacket Creamery, half and half from Snowville Creamery, Kitchen Basics chicken stock, leek and garlic from the Worthington Farmers Market. This is one that just says “August” to me, and this is one I wouldn’t even attempt to make out of season. I’m going to enjoy every second of summer while it lasts…

Cherry Tomato and Fresh Mozzarella Risotto

Risotto with Fresh Mozzarella, Grape Tomatoes & Basil
recipe from Cooking in Kansas City blog

3 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
4 1/2 cups fat-free, less- sodium chicken broth
2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
2 cups chopped leek
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup half & half
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 cup halved grape tomatoes
1/4 fresh basil, chopped
5 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, finely diced

Place vinegar in a small, heavy saucepan; bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook until slightly syrupy and reduced to 1 tablespoon, about 4 minutes. Set aside.
Bring broth to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Keep warm.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add leek and saute 3 minutes. Add rice; cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add garlic and stir for 30 seconds. Add wine and cook 1 minute or until liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly. Stir in 1 cup of broth; cook five minutes and stir often.

Reduce heat to medium. Add remaining broth, 1/2 cup a time, until liquid is absorbed, stirring often. Stir in half and half, salt and pepper and cook 2 more minutes.

Remove from heat; stir in tomatoes, basil and cheese. Place about 1 cup risotto into six shallow bowls; drizzle each with 1/2 tsp. balsamic syrup and 1/2 tsp. oil.