Tomato risotto with griddled aubergine & tapenade

Kipper loves aubergines, so I was confident that she’d be all over these griddled aubergine slices. What I didn’t anticipate though, was that I’d be shouting, “No! No! No! NO! NO!” as she tried to stick her face in the bowl of tapenade. We really need to work on her table manners.

I finally cracked the perfect tomato risotto quite recently. I’ve tried dozens of variations, all using fresh tomatoes. That, it seems, was my big mistake. This recipe uses a tomato sauce base to which the rice is added, and creates a creamy, rich, and very tomatoey risotto. You can make the tomato risotto with any tomato sauce – it’s a great way to use up any leftover from another meal, or you can even use ready-made sauce from a jar. If you do make it as written below, you’ll have about 1 portion of sauce left, which you can freeze for future use, or just have for lunch with pasta the next day.

Kipper stirred her tapenade into the risotto, while DH and I preferred to have it in blobs. Either way is good. The aubergines are completely optional, but very yummy. I think they compliment the tomato risotto well and give a Mediterranean feel to the whole thing. A reminder of summer, on a murky February day.

Tomato risotto

Tomato risotto with griddles aubergine and black olive tapenade

Serves 2-3.

Tomato risotto with griddled aubergine and tapenade

You will need:
1 medium onion
2 cloves garlic
1 tbsp olive oil
400g tin chopped tomatoes
150g risotto rice
500ml hot vegetable stock
1 large aubergine
2-3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp black olive tapenade
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
chopped parsley, to serve

What to do:
Peel and chop the onion. Peel and crush the garlic. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a small saucepan, and add the onions and garlic. Fry for a minute or two until soft, then add the chopped tomatoes. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15-20 minutes.
Transfer 200ml of the sauce (about 1 cup) to a larger pan. Add the rice, stir well, and cook for 2-3 minutes. Gradually add the stock, a little at a time, stirring well after each addition. Cook for 20-25 minutes until all the stock has been added and the rice is cooked.
Meanwhile, heat a griddle pan over a high flame. Slice the aubergine into 7-8mm thick pieces. Brush with olive oil and cook on the griddle pan for a few minutes on each side, until charred lines appear. Keep the griddles aubergine slices warm in the oven, if necessary.
Mix the tapenade and extra virgin olive oil together.
Serve the tomato risotto with the aubergine and a dollop of the tapenade. Sprinkle with the chopped parsley.

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