Caramelized Onion and Fresh Tomato Risotto

Fruit or vegetable?

As a child, I remember going into our family garden, picking the biggest, reddest tomato I could find, wiping any dirt off on my shorts and biting into this sun-kissed delight. The juice dripped down my chin and I relished every bite. It was my favorite then and that hasn’t changed. We often have meals of sliced tomatoes and sweet corn, and I can’t wait for both to be in season again.

Tomatoes come in so many varieties and colors. Large pink beefsteaks to red, orange and yellow cherry and grape tomatoes, and multi-colored heirlooms, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. August gardens have an abundance of this juicy delight and the recipes this month will help you enjoy them even more.

Valerie Cheatham

Caramelized Onion and Fresh Tomato Risotto

Adapted from
Course Entrée
Cuisine Italian
Servings 6


  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon olive oil divided
  • 1 pound yellow onions thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 2 pounds fresh tomatoes halved
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 1-1/2 cups Arborio rice
  • 3-4 cups chicken broth heated
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • Heat a large pot over medium-low heat and add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add onions and stir. Cook 20 to 30 minutes until onions begin to soften and turn golden.
  • Stir in sugar. Cook until onions are very soft and brown, about 30 additional minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 400 F.
  • While the onions cook, spread cut halves of tomatoes with remaining olive oil and place in a roasting pan. Roast tomatoes until skins blister, about 25 minutes.
  • Cool until easy to handle then remove peel and seeds and coarsely chop. Don’t discard juices in pan.
  • When the onions are caramelized, turn heat to medium and add garlic. Saute’ 1 minute.
  • Stir in wine, tomatoes, reserved tomato juices, tomato paste and thyme. Raise heat and bring to a boil.
  • Lower heat and simmer for 5 minutes until liquid reduces by a third. Stir rice into pot and allow mixture to simmer until most of the remaining liquid is absorbed, stirring frequently.
  • Begin adding heated broth about 1 ladle at a time, allowing the rice to absorb the liquid before adding the next one. Continue process until rice has absorbed 3 to 4 cups and is tender. This process takes around 20 minutes.
  • Stir in Parmesan, butter, salt and pepper until creamy. Serve.


Nutrition information: 312 calories; 7.3g fat; 589mg sodium; 43.1g carbohydrates; 13.1g protein.