Favorite Mediterranean ingredients come together in this creamy risotto. Adding the liquid from the tomatoes to the chicken stock underscores the flavor of the fresh tomatoes added at the very end. This is delicious made with any ripe red or orange tomatoes.


  • 1 ½ lbs. tomatoes
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups water
  • ¼ tsp saffron threads, crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 medium fennel bulb, fronds chopped and reserved for garnish, stalks discarded, and bulb finely chopped (2 cups)
  • 1 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup Arborio or Carnaroli rice
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • ½ cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated


1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
2. Core tomatoes and cut a shallow X in bottom of each, then blanch tomatoes in boiling water 10 seconds. Transfer with a slotted spoon to an ice bath to stop cooking.
3. Peel tomatoes using tip of a small paring knife, then halve tomatoes crosswise. Squeeze juice from tomato halves through a sieve into a bowl, pressing on and then discarding seeds. Finely dice tomato flesh.
4. Bring stock, water, saffron, and tomato liquid to a simmer in a medium saucepan and keep at a bare simmer.
5. Meanwhile, heat oil and butter in a heavy medium saucepan over medium heat until foam subsides, then add fennel and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and beginning to turn golden, 12 to 15 minutes.
6. Add rice and cook, stirring constantly, until it turns opaque, about 3 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low, then add wine and cook, stirring, until absorbed. Continue simmering and adding hot tomato-saffron stock, 1 cup at a time, stirring frequently and letting each addition be absorbed before adding the next, until rice is tender and creamy-looking but still al dente, 18 to 25 minutes total (you will have some stock left over).
7. Stir in diced tomatoes, cheese, and salt and pepper to taste. Thin with stock if desired.
8. Serve topped with chopped fennel fronds.






6 servings
Makes 6 servings