Valentines day is just a few days away, and if you’re looking for a way to impress that special someone this year… what would be better than cooking them a romantic dinner? We’ve got your dessert covered as well with our chocolate covered strawberries! I think that risotto is a really fancy & gourmet dish that would easily impress someone, but is also relatively cheap to make & very easy. It’s more time consuming than anything, but trust me its really easy! I chose to switch things up a bit by making this one with farro instead of arborio rice, but you can use rice instead if you want to keep this gluten free or more traditional. Pairing this dish with tomato confit will really help add a sweetness & also the bright red color is perfect for Valentines day. Without further ado, let me tell you how to make it!
We’re going to start out by making the tomato confit. I chose to use fresh baby san marzano tomatoes for this (they sell them at trader joe’s), but you can also use cherry or grape tomatoes, or even some baby heirloom’s! Tomato confit is one of my favorite things, so I usually always double my recipe when making it to store in the fridge to have on hand. Its great just spread on some bread, can easily make a delicious sauce for some pasta, and are great over rice or other grains. You’ll need the tomatoes, fresh rosemary & thyme, garlic, salt, pepper, and olive oil to do this. Wash your tomatoes, and transfer them to a large cast iron skillet so that they’re in a single layer. Add in your garlic, salt & pepper, rosemary, thyme, and olive oil on top.
Quickly toss your ingredients, and then transfer them to a preheated 325F oven. You’ll want to let them cook for about 40-50 minutes, or until the tomatoes are wrinkled. You don’t want to stir them or anything while they cook, just let them do their thing. Once they’re done cooking, set some aside in a bowl (drained of oil) for the risotto, and reserve about two tablespoons of the oil as well for toasting up your bread later. As for the remaining oil / tomatoes leftover, place them in a mason jar and keep in the fridge! They’ll last about two weeks in the oil in there, and are so delicious and can be used in so many recipes.
Now you’re ready to start on the risotto! Trust me, its actually much easier than you probably think. Start by dicing some yellow onion, fresh rosemary & thyme, and garlic. Add a little olive oil to a pan over medium – high heat, and add in your onions. Cook for about 2-3 minutes until slightly translucent, and then add in your herbs & garlic. Continue cooking for about 3-4 minutes until the onions are golden brown.
For the rice part of this dish, I chose to use farro instead of a traditional arborio rice. You can certainly substitute rice in this dish with all the same measurements, so its super easy to swap if you don’t want to use farro. For this I used pearled farro, not ten minute / instant farro. Its very important to not buy the ten minute stuff. I just like the nuttiness farro gives, and think it really adds a different element to the dish. Once your onions are cooked, add in your farro and cook for another 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently, until the farro is slightly toasted.
Once your farro is toasted, you can add in your wine to deglaze the pan and reduce. Allow your wine to cook down for about 2 minutes, until about 80% of it has reduced, then you can start working with your stock. I also chose to use a Pinot Grigio for this, because it’s one of my favorite white wines to cook with, and I think it really helps give a depth of flavor to this dish.
While you’re getting all of your ingredients ready (chopping onions, etc.), start heating up your stock in a separate pot. You want to keep it at a low boil, and we will be adding it in stages to the farro. I like using a ladle for this step because it insures that I get an equal amount of stock going into the pan each time, but if you don’t have a ladle you can use a 1 cup measuring cup. Once your wine has reduced in the risotto, add one ladle full of stock and stir. Stir frequently until almost all of the stock has absorbed into the farro. Then you can add another ladle full of stock. You want to repeat this process until you’ve used all of your stock, it takes usually 45 minutes to an hour depending on how hot your pan / stock are.
Next we’ll be making our cashew cream. I like adding this in when the risotto is done because it adds an extra creaminess and nutty flavor to the overall dish. You guys have seen me make cashew cream time and time again, but just blend your cashews and water together until you get a thick, heavy cream consistency.
Once your cashew cream is ready and your risotto is finished, add in some butter to the risotto and stir until melted. Then add your cream and stir again to combine. This will help give the risotto a lot more creaminess & nuttiness.
Since we took all that time making the tomato confit, it’s kind of a sin to not utilize fully. That oil that is surrounding those tomatoes is SO flavorful and infused with so many incredible things. I like taking some of that oil and spreading it across sourdough bread, and grilling it on a grill pan. It gives the bread the most amazing tomato, garlic, herb flavor and the char from the grill pan really sends this oil to new heights. Obviously you can swap out some gluten free bread or omit this totally, but trust me, it’s really delicious. You can even grill up bread like this and just spread some of those tomatoes on top, they’ll melt like butter on the warm bread.
Once all your elements are finished, you can plate them finally! Top your risotto with some of that tomato confit & a drizzle of the oil from it, fresh basil, and vegan parmesan shreds (thanks to follow your heart), alongside some of the grilled bread. If this dish doesn’t impress your significant other, then I don’t know what will! It’s creamy, delicious, and so hearty, and pairs amazingly with those chocolate covered strawberries for dessert. I hope you all enjoyed this recipe and that you have a great Valentines Day!
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 Medium yellow onion, diced
- 2 cup dry pearled farro
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 7 cups low sodium vegetable broth
- 2 tbs fresh rosemary, chopped
- 2 tbs fresh thyme, chopped
- 1 tbs minced garlic
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1/2 cup cashews, soaked in water over night (or at least 2 hours)
- 1/2 cup water
- Melt olive oil in a large pan. Add in diced onion and cook on medium heat until onions are almost translucent. Add in dry farro and stir to toast for 1 minute.
- Pour in white wine and stir. Cook for 3-4 minutes, until wine reduces to about half. While this is happening, pour vegetable broth in a small saucepan and keep warm on low heat. Ladle about 1 cup of broth into the farro and stir. Let it simmer and reduce, then continue to add in more broth to repeat the process. It will take about 45 minutes to cook.
- To make the cashew cream, blend your soaked cashews with water in a high speed blender. Blend until completely smooth. Once the farro is done cooking, stir the cashew cream into the risotto.
- 1 lb cherry tomatoes
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 sprig of thyme
- 1 sprig of rosemary
- A pinch of sea salt
- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 325 F.
- Place all the above ingredients in a cast iron skillet.
- Transfer to the preheated oven for about 50 minutes until the tomatoes are soft and wrinkled.