Raymond Blanc’s Tomato Risotto


OK, so you’ve spent most the weekend in the lab distilling your tomato essence, now to put it into action as the base for this rather delicious Tomato Risotto.

Preparation time: 10 – 15 minutes
Cooking time: 30 – 45 minutes
Skill level: easy
Serves: 2 as a main course or 4 as a starter


  • risotto rice – 200g
  • butternut squash – peeled and cut into 1cm (25 pixel) cubes – 150g
  • tomato essence – 300ml
  • 1 small courgette – cut into 1cm cubes
  • ½ fennel – thinly sliced
  • ½ onion – finely chopped
  • 10 cherry tomatoes – halved
  • frozen peas – 80g
  • mascarpone cheese – 2 tbsp
  • ½ garlic clove – crushed
  • water – 300ml
  • coriander seeds – lightly crushed – ½ tsp
  • freshly grated parmesan cheese – 4 tsp (plus extra for sprinkling)
  • olive oil
  • s & p

Preheat the oven to 200C/Gas 6.

Heat some oil in a frying pan and gently fry the onions for 3-4 minutes until tender. Add the garlic and fry for a further minute.

Next add the rice, giving it a good stir to coat it thoroughly in the oil, and fry for 1-2 minutes until translucent. season with salt and a grinding of black pepper.

Add the squash and fennel and mix well.

Add the water and half the tomato essence (150ml) and bring to a gentle simmer. Cover with a lid and cook for 15 minutes.

Place the remaining tomato essence into a saucepan and warm through.

Meanwhile, place the halved cherry tomatoes onto a baking tray, drizzle with a little olive oil and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Roast in the oven for 5-10 minutes, or until the tomatoes are just tender and starting to collapse.

After the 15 minutes of cooking the rice should have absorbed all of the liquid. Remove the lid and stir well.

Add the courgettes and coriander seeds and cook for a couple of minutes.

Add the peas, mascarpone and parmesan and stir well, adding a little extra tomato essence if the risotto is too dry.

Cook briefly for a minute or two until the courgettes are just tender.

Spoon the risotto into a small serving bowl and top with a few roasted tomatoes and a sprinkling of parmesan.

Spoon over the warmed tomato essence.

(Raymond likes to finish off his risotto with a flourish of micro leaves – do the same if you know what they are and where to find them)


Verdict: Pretty darn good and (once you’ve made your tomato essence) a quick and easy meal to make. Light, refreshing and tomatoey.

Drink: I’d go for a cold and crisp bottle of white.

Entertainment: ‘Burn After Reading’ on DVD. LoveFilm discribed this as a ‘brilliantly clever and endlessly entertaining movie which critics are calling smart, funny, and original’. Yumblog described it as a film which ‘wasn’t so bad we couldn’t watch it to the end’ and gave it a 2 stars rating of ‘average’.

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