Raymond Blanc’s tomato essence risotto

Raymond Blanc’s tomato essence risotto

It’s been a little nuts in my household with visiting family and work taking up all my energy, so it’s wonderful to carve out a bit of my downtime to share some of my latest food adventures.

I want to start with a risotto transformed into something magical through the use of tomato essence as the base stock. This recipe comes from the awesome Raymond Blanc. I made a few adjustments/ommissions – not because I want to mess with the genius of this recipe, but simply because of what I had in my pantry/fridge.

The Raymond Blanc recipe is here. He has some good tips, and I’ve repeated the ones which I thought were most useful in my adaptation below. It takes some preparation time just because you need to extract the essence from the tomatoes before you can begin, so plan ahead. It’s worth it !

Ingredients (to serve two as a main or four as a starter)

For the essence:

  1. 1.25kg tomatoes – it’s vital that you use tomatoes that have tons of flavour.  Poor quality tomatoes will give you a tasteless essence.  I used baby roma tomatoes
  2. 1/2 onion, peeled and chopped
  3. 1/2 clove garlic, peeled and sliced
  4. handful of basil leaves, roughly torn
  5. good pinch of sea salt
  6. pinch sugar (optional)

For the risotto:

  1. ½  onion finely chopped
  2. 1 clove garlic, crushed
  3. 30ml olive oil
  4. 200g risotto rice
  5. 7 pinches sea salt
  6. 2 pinches white pepper
  7. 300ml hot water
  8. 300ml tomato essence (recipe above)

To finish the risotto:

  1. 1 tsp butter, unsalted
  2. 40g peas, shelled
  3. 40g broad beans
  4. 40g baby carrots, washed and sliced
  5. 20g Parmesan, finely grated
  6. 4-6 cherry tomatoes, roasted
  7. sprigs of baby herbs to garnish


Making the tomato essence:

  1. In a food processor, blitz all the ingredients together 3 times for 2 seconds each, using the pulse button. Don’t over blitz the tomatoes to a purée, as it will break down the tomato skin and give a completely different, coarser flavour. The colour will also be red, whilst we are looking for a pale gold colour, which is the heart of the tomato
  2. Allow to marinate for a minimum of 30 minutes and up to 3 hours
  3. Hang in a double folded muslin cloth to collect the liquid (I put the muslin over a strainer over a bowl), pop in the fridge and let gravity do its job for at least a few hours.  Reserve
  4. The pulp can be used to make a soup or sauce for pasta or chicken or could also be used to add into the risotto in place of the extra vegetables

Cooking the risotto

  1. Bring the water to the boil
  2. Soften the onion and garlic in the olive oil on a low heat until softened
  3. Stir in the rice and continue to cook on medium heat for 2 minutes until the grains of rice appear translucent
  4. Season with salt and pepper
  5. Add the hot water, lower heat and and stir until it has all been absorbed
  6. Repeat step 5 with the essence, cover and simmer for 20 minutes to cook *** this recipe does not call for the traditional method of cooking risotto where you need to continually add stock and stir
  7. After 20 minutes add the butter and the peas, beans and carrots, and cook for a further 5 minutes stirring continually – this will help to encourage the natural starch in the rice to give the dish that wonderfully creamy texture
  8. Taste for seasoning
  9. Serve, topped with freshly grated parmesan, roasted tomatoes and herbs

About Carolyn Chan

A girl slowly eating her way around Singapore and farther afield when she's lucky. View all posts by Carolyn Chan

5 responses to “Raymond Blanc’s tomato essence risotto

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