This lusciously creamy, easy tomato and mascarpone risotto is the ultimate hug in a bowl. It comes together in just 25 minutes, uses store cupboard staples and is SO delicious. Serve with a drizzle of herby basil pesto for a quick weeknight meal.
There aren’t many dishes out there that scream comfort in a bowl more than a warm, creamy bowl of risotto. And this tomato and mascarpone version is absolutely DELICIOUS. It uses ingredients you probably already have in your cupboard and is easier than you might think.
Risotto often gets a bad rap for being hard to make, but it really is a simple dish. Yes, you have to stir it, but it’s pretty stress-free. Pop on a great podcast or playlist, grab a glass of wine and just enjoy the process – that’s how I like to make this! You can also get the kids involved and share the stirring, it’s a really fun way to involve them in the kitchen.
And the best part of making risotto? If you have any leftovers you can make mozzarella-stuffed arancini balls the next day!
Why you’ll love this recipe
- It uses mainly store cupboard ingredients.
- Takes less than 30 minutes, from prep to the finished dish.
- It’s cheap and easy to make.
Everything you need for this risotto should be easy to find at a regular supermarket (and you probably have most things already!)
- Risotto rice. It’s super important you use the right rice for risotto. That means either arborio or carnaroli. Risotto rice is very starchy, which creates that gorgeous creamy consistency we’re after. You won’t get that result if you use regular long-grain rice.
- Tinned tomatoes. I’m keeping things very simple and using tinned tomatoes here. Use whole, cherry, crushed or chopped – it doesn’t matter! I also love to make this with tomato passata (tomato puree in the US).
- Stock. Use any good vegetable or chicken stock here. Just be careful when adding extra salt at the end because stock has different salt levels, so always taste before adding more.
- Parmesan. Try to grate the parmesan from a block, rather than using pre-grated. That’s because the pre-grated stuff has an anti-caking coating which will prevent it from melting properly into the risotto.
- Mascarpone. This is the one that makes the risotto incredibly creamy and luxurious. If you can’t find it, just use cream cheese, ricotta, boursin or single cream. You can leave it out if you like, you just won’t get a super creamy result.
The wine is optional here – leave it out if you prefer.
There are also some fun additions you could play around with – add a teaspoon of chilli flakes and smoked paprika when you’re cooking the onions and garlic to add a little warmth and spice. Or add 1 tablespoon of ‘nduja paste or chopped chorizo for an even smokier flavour that works wonderfully with the tomatoes and mascarpone.
How to make it
Start by setting a large saucepan over medium heat, then add your olive oil, diced onion and a little salt. Cook for a few minutes, then go in with the garlic, then the rice. You want to stir the rice through the onions, garlic and olive oil so it’s well coated and cook it a little until it starts to smell ‘toasty’. This will take a couple of minutes. You’re looking for the edges of the rice to start looking more translucent or see-through, while the middle is still white.
If you’re using it, now is the time to add the wine and let it bubble rapidly for a couple of minutes so the alcohol evaporates. Stir it through the rice, then add your tinned tomatoes. Stir again and bring it to a simmer. Now you’re ready to start adding your stock. Working with a ladleful at a time, add the stock to the rice and then stir constantly until the ladleful has been absorbed. Once it has absorbed, go in again with another ladleful of stock. Repeat this process until you’ve got no more stock left. At this point, your rice should be al dente (cooked, with a little bite to it in the middle).
At this point, add your grated parmesan and mascarpone and give them a stir so they melt into the risotto. Divide between plates, then drizzle with pesto, scatter over more grated parmesan and finish with fresh basil leaves.
How to make this in an Instant Pot
You can make this risotto really easily in an Instant Pot (or any electric pressure cooker) if you have one. All you need to do is follow the recipe up until you add the stock, using the ‘sauté’ mode on your Instant Pot. Because no liquid will evaporate in the Instant Pot, you’ll need to cut down the amount of stock you’re adding to 1 1/2 cups.
Instead of adding a ladleful of stock at a time, you’re going to add all 1 1/2 cups of stock, then seal your Instant Pot and set it on high pressure for 8 minutes, then use the rapid release (being very careful of the steam!)
After this, you should have a super creamy risotto! Then all you need to do is stir through the parmesan and mascarpone and serve as per the recipe. It will look a little liquidy when you remove the lid but don’t worry – once you stir it and mix through the parmesan and mascarpone you’ll find it thickens up perfectly.
Got a question?
You can! If you do this, you’ll need to add the tomatoes BEFORE you add the rice. You’re essentially creating a bit of a tomato sauce first. Use 400g of chopped fresh tomatoes. You’ll need to cook them down for about 10 minutes until they start breaking up and going soft and jammy. At that point, go in with the rice and then follow the rest of the recipe.
You can! I learned this trick at Le Cordon Bleu and it’s a great one. All you have to do is part-cook the risotto – so add half the stock, then stop. Spread the risotto out onto a lined baking tray on a single layer (this is going to help it cool fast and stop it from cooking further). Cover with cling film, then pop in the fridge until you’re ready to serve. Then all you have to do is add the cooled, part-cooked risotto back into your pot and finish adding the rest of the stock which should only take 5 or so minutes.
You can use cream cheese, ricotta, single cream, Boursin or you can leave it out entirely – it just won’t be as creamy.
There are three good reasons for this. First, stirring the rice will help the starch release, which is what creates that creamy consistency we’re after in a risotto. Second, it helps the rice cook evenly. And third, it stops the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pot!
You can – either do it on the stovetop in a pot or in the microwave. You’ll need to add a little water to help it loosen up as you’ll find the rice will have continued to soak up the liquid in the fridge so needs a little help. Use 2 tablespoons of water.
The best thing to do is to make mozzarella-stuffed arancini balls! These are breaded and fried rice balls and they are DELICIOUS. Have a look at my recipe for how to make mozzarella stuffed arancini for a guide.
Like this recipe? Here are some more comfort food favourites you might enjoy
If you make this risotto, let me know in the comments below! I love hearing how you get on with my creations.Print