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).
Meat lovers? Serve this with your favorite Italian chicken or sausage.If you decide to use shredded mozzarella, there is no need to marinate the cheese. You will also lose the pockets of cheese in the risotto as it will all melt.To ensure a truly vegetarian dish, ensure you are using vegetarian cheeses.You need to use arborio rice in order for the risotto to work properly because the starches of the rice is what makes it creamy. You should be able to find it at your grocery store in the rice section or you can buy it online here.