Balsamic Risotto with Tomatoes and Basil

This Balsamic Risotto is rich and tangy with Parmesan cheese and balsamic vinegar, and a great way to use garden tomatoes and basil!

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 3 to 4


  • 4 cups of stock (I use homemade vegetable stock or Better Than Bouillon)
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped shallots
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 cup (200 g) risotto riceĀ (arborio, carnaroli, or vialone nano)
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine (I recommend a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc)
  • 1/2 cup grated or shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 to 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • White pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh thyme or a pinch of dried thyme
  • 1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 4 basil leaves, thinly sliced


1 Heat the stock: Bring 4 cups of stock to a low simmer in a small pot. Keep the stock warm while making the risotto.

2 Cook shallots and garlic: Melt a tablespoon of butter in a wide saucepan on medium heat. Add the chopped shallots and cook until translucent, a couple of minutes.

Add the minced garlic and cook until fragrant, a half minute more.

cook shallots and garlic to make the best risotto

3 Lightly brown the rice: Add the risotto rice to the pan and toss to coat with the shallots. Increase the heat to medium high and let the rice start to brown.

lightly brown the arborio rice for the risotto

4 Add the white wine: Stir in the white wine. The pan will steam up. Let the rice absorb the wine.

5 Start adding the stock, 1/2 cup at a time: Here is the real process of making risotto. Add the stock, a half cup or ladleful at a time, slowly stirring the rice, and allowing the rice to absorb the stock for a minute or two, before adding another ladleful of stock.

ladle vegetable stock into the risotto a half cup at a time

You'll want to stop adding the stock when the rice is cooked through, but still a little firm to the bite, "al dente". Note that you may not need all of the stock you have heated for this recipe.

6 Add balsamic, tomatoes, thyme with last 1/2 cup of stock: When it comes time for that last 1/2 cup of stock to add to the risotto, add it, as well as the balsamic vinegar. Balsamic vinegar can vary in its acidity and intensity. So, add 1 tablespoon to start, and add another tablespoon if you want more of the balsamic flavor.

Add half of the cherry tomatoes and add the thyme. Let the tomatoes soften with the cooking of the risotto in those last few minutes.

7 Remove from heat, stir in Parm: When the risotto has reached it's "al dente" stage, remove it from heat. Stir in the shredded Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle with pepper.

8 Serve: Serve with remaining halved fresh cherry tomatoes and thinly sliced basil on top.