Ever so cheesy baked risotto with tomato and mozzarella

Fresh & Green by Aldo ZilliI’ve got a new cook book that i’m every so slightly in love with… it’s a vegetarian book by Aldo Zilli called Fresh & Green.

I got my mitts on it last month at an event with the Italian chef himself, and after comparing notes about cooking for our vegetarian spouses he gave me a copy of his new book before it’s even hit the shelves – result!

You’d normally associate Aldo Zilli with fish, but let me tell you he’s done wonders with vegetables in his latest tome, and it’s family-friendly too which is perfect.

I’ll try and do a full review of the book later in the month, but for now let me whet your appetites with a stonking risotto recipe that I tried out this week.

It’s a VERY cheesy affair – boasting not only mozzarella but pecorino too. You get your veggie fix from the shallots and tin of tomatoes, but this is strictly comfort food we’re talking about here.

It does take up an hour of your life to get it on the table – from the chopping, endless stirring and then baking. But it IS worth it.

We ate it in bowls sitting around the table on a chilly bank holiday in our warm PJs and it felt pretty damned blissful!

Baked risotto with tomato and mozzarella – from Fresh & Green by Aldo Zilli
(Serves 4 generously)

2 tbsp olive oil
50g butter
4 banana shallots, finely chopped
325g arborio rice
250ml white wine
1.5 litres hot vegetable stock (I probably used more like 1.2 litres)
400g tin chopped tomatoes
3 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
4 tbsp pecorino cheese, grated
200g mozzarella, torn into pieces
4 tbsp breadcrumbs

1. Heat the oil and half the butter in a large deep frying pan. Gently fry the shallots for 5 mins until soft. Add the rice and stir until coated with the butter. Turn up the heat and pour in the wine, cook until the liquid has been absorbed.

2. Keep your stock in a separate pan on a low heat and add one ladle at a time to the rice, stirring over a medium heat until the liquid disappears before adding the next ladleful. Once the rice is close to being cooked add the tin of tomatoes and season.

3. Once the rice is cooked remove from heat and stir in the parsley, pecorino and remaining butter. Stir in the mozzarella.

4. Pre-heat the oven to 180C/160’C fan/Gas 4. Grease a roasting tin with butter and then sprinkle over 2 tbsp of the breadcrumbs so coated on the bottom and sides. Pour the risotto into the prepared tin and then scatter the top with the remaining breadcrumbs. Cook for 20 minutes until golden.

Stringy cheese

The stringy cheese made it fun to eat

It’s the first recipe I’ve cooked from the book, but it was such a hit with the boys that I’m going back for more, so watch this space.

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About Katie Bryson

Katie Bryson is a freelance food writer and blogger. She left a career in online news at the BBC to immerse herself in the culinary world, taking in courses at Leiths School of Food and Wine and an internship at Waitrose along the way. Her family food blog www.feedingboys.co.uk is bursting with recipes and tips for feeding hungry families that’ll help inspire all those frazzled parents out there wondering what on earth to cook for tea! She lives in West London with her two young boys and yes, her firefighter husband.
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4 Responses to Ever so cheesy baked risotto with tomato and mozzarella

  1. Claire says:

    Oh yum! Love risotto and love mozarella, this as a combo is a match made in heaven!

  2. Katie Bryson says:

    it’s a winner alright – comfort food of the highest order! It’s VERY filling too, so while it’s not low fat it stops the old snack attacks!

  3. Karien says:

    O boy, that sounds delightful. If only my youngest has not just shown to be dairy intolerant. I used some veg cheese the other day. Yuk. She’ll have to get a separate meal when I make this!

    • Katie Bryson says:

      sorry to hear about the dairy intolerance – thank goodness there are so many alternatives on the market these days 🙂 But yes – there’s nothing like the real thing when it comes to cheese!

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