Risotto is one of my all-time favorite dishes. I am always trying to hunt down restaurants that serve risotto, especially in Italy, because it requires love and attention in order to serve it, so it will almost always be amazing. I love thinking of new ways to make risotto and fun flavors to throw in, and this recipe was the result of my mom’s love of caprese-anything. Just utter the word “caprese” and you do not have to say anything further as my mom is already SOLD! This Balsamic Caprese Risotto has become the number one risotto recipe in the house.
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Risotto was always somewhat intimidating to me because I would hear about how difficult it is to cook with all of the stirring and the gradual adding of liquid, and so I avoided it for a long time. But it is really not that difficult, it just takes a little time and attention with the stirring. Just get comfortable, grab a glass of wine, and settle in for some one-on-one personal time with your risotto. You can do it, too! It is definitely worth the effort and this dish will likely become a family favorite!
The Balsamic Caprese Risotto is perfectly creamy and cheesy. Mozzarella will melt into the dish and make it a little stringy and gooey. Also, the freshness of the tomatoes lightens the dish and the balsamic helps to cut through the richness of everything.
Want to amp up the balsamic? (Who doesn’t?!??!?!) Drizzle some of this quick and easy balsamic glaze over the top. YUM.
I love the little mozzarella balls because they are so festive, however you can just use chunks of mozzarella instead. Shredded can work however it will melt in like the Parmesan and you will not have any chunks of cheese. For this recipe I marinate the mozzarella in order to give the cheese itself some additional flavor.
The quality of both Parmesan and mozzarella in this dish is extremely important. The cheeses are a primary flavor and so you want to use ingredients that taste good as it will just make the dish better. I love to buy wedges of Parmesan Reggiano cheese and use (affiliate) one of my favorite tools, a food processor, to shred the brick and then I keep it in my refrigerator in plastic bags so that I always have fresh, quality cheese shredded on hand. If you make healthier and higher-quality foods easier to access, you will use them more often.
Looking for another risotto idea? Check out our Roasted Asparagus and Sweet Corn Risotto!
Balsamic Caprese Risotto
- 6 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese small balls or chunks
- 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
- olive oil
- 8 ounces cherry tomatoes (or grape tomatoes) (approx 1.5 cups)
- 1 1/2 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 Tablespoons red onion finely diced
- 1 1/2 cups arborio rice
- 1 cup white wine
- 6 cups vegetable stock (or chicken stock)
- 1 cup Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup fresh basil thinly sliced
- black pepper
- Put the mozzarella balls or chunks into a small bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle a pinch of salt and dried basil. Stir and set aside to marinate.
- Cut the tomatoes into halves and place in a small bowl. Add the balsamic and stir. Set aside for the tomatoes to marinate while you are cooking. You will want to stir every so often so that all of the tomatoes get the same balsamic time.
- Place the stock in a pot and heat over medium low. You want the stock to be warm when adding it to the risotto so that the temperature change does not affect the rice.
- In a large pot, melt 3 Tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. When melted, add the red onion. Cook until the onion is translucent but not yet browning, approximately 3-5 minutes.
- Add the rice and stir. Continue cooking to slightly toast the rice until it is just starting to show a little brown color, approximately 3-5 minutes.
- Add the white wine to the pot. Cook until the rice is almost dry, where most of the wine has been absorbed.
- Add one cup of stock to the rice. Stir continuously until most of the stock has been absorbed. Repeat this process one cup of stock at a time until the rice is cooked thoroughly. You want the rice to have just a little bit of bite left so that it is not completely mushy. Depending on your rice, you may need more or less stock for the right consistency so start tasting the rice after 4 cups.
- When your rice is cooked through, remove the pot from the heat. Add the rest of the butter, the Parmesan cheese, and half of the mozzarella pieces. (The mozzarella you add at this step will melt in). Stir to combine.
- Remove the tomatoes from the balsamic marinade. Add the fresh basil and tomatoes to the pot and stir. Taste the risotto and season with salt and pepper. Top off each dish with the additional mozzarella pieces, more fresh basil, and more Parmesan. (This finishing touch of mozzarella will give you the chunks of cheese pockets in your dish as they will not fully melt into the risotto).