Sweet Basil and Tomato Risotto

To serve four.

3 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Cup Onions-small diced
1 Cup Arborio Rice-available in Italian section of market
2 tsp. Garlic-chopped finely
4 Cups Chicken or Vegetable Broth- heat until simmering, season well with salt and pepper
1 ½ Cups Fresh Basil Leaves
¾ Cup Heavy Cream
2 Tbsp. Butter
1 ½ Cups Diced Fresh Tomatoes
¼ Cup Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese
Salt and Black Pepper to Taste

Heat a large, wide, heavy-bottomed saucepan on medium high heat. Add olive oil and onions. Cook stirring for about 2 minutes or until translucent and sweet smelling. Add rice and garlic, coat with the hot oil, cook for 30 seconds. Using a 4 oz. soup ladle, add the well seasoned, simmering broth gradually to rice, stirring quite regularly with a wooden spoon. (Using a metal spoon will result in gummy, mushy rice since it will puree the rice as it cooks). As rice absorbs the stock, add more. Continue this process for about 15 minutes or until rice is starting to get tender. Adjust heat only to maintain a gentle bubbling. If it cooks too fast, more liquid will be required since much is evaporating into the air.

While rice is cooking, place the basil leaves in the simmering chicken broth to wilt for 10 seconds and place in a blender with the heavy cream. Puree until smooth, reserve. After 15 minutes, taste the rice for a tender, yet slightly firm texture at center of grain. When the rice is just slightly underdone, add the basil puree, diced tomatoes, butter, and Parmesan. Cook stirring gently for 1 minute just to heat through. If sauce is too thick, add a touch more broth or water. Texture of sauce should be very creamy. Divide into four soup plates, garnish the top with more parmesan cheese and tomatoes and basil. Enjoy!

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