Risotto/ Vegetarian

Butter and Tomato Risotto

August 8, 2020 (Last Updated: February 16, 2021)

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Total time to make this recipe: 35 minutes
overhead of tomato risotto in a white plate with basil leaves

“Risotto al Pomodoro” or Tomato Risotto, is a classic Italian dish. It’s simple but if made with quality ingredients it can raise to the next level. Add some salted butter on top and it will be even more creamy and delicious. A perfect summer comfort food.

The simplest dishes are the easiest to screw up. Believe me.

I have made this risotto many times before and with only 5 ingredients, it’s really easy to mess up. The flavor will easily be unbalanced if one of the ingredients is not good quality or not good enough.

In general, the fewer ingredients there are in a recipe, the better quality they should be, as they can make or break the dish.

For this risotto, for example, the most important ingredient is the tomato. No matter how great quality the rice is or how good the butter is, if you’re using acidic or tasteless tomatoes, it’s going to be garbage. I know because I did that.

risotto with basil, a slice of butter and a fork

What are the best tomatoes for making tomato sauce?

So, the question is, which tomatoes should you use to make this risotto a spectacular dish?

In theory, you could use any tomato variety to make tomato sauce, but the results won’t be the same. Cherry tomatoes are too sweet, heirloom tomatoes are too firm. The best tomatoes to turn into sauce are the meaty ones, especially the Roma variety.

San Marzano tomatoes are the most famous Italian variety from the Roma family. They’re delicious and when you peel them they almost melt in your hands for how soft they are. Most good quality canned tomato sauces are made from San Marzano tomatoes. But they’re not easy to find outside of Italy, so if you cannot find them, choose the same family type, Roma.

tomato risotto with basil, a slice of butter and a fork

Can I use a butter substitute?

Butter is one of the “mandatory” ingredients for every good risotto, along with onion, rice, and wine. Butter is added only at the end when you turn off the heat and it makes the risotto super creamy.

In this recipe, we’re not adding only a knob of butter at the end, we’re adding a bit more because the creamy flavor of butter goes perfectly with the flavor of tomatoes.

In this recipe, I used a plant-based butter, so it was dairy-free. So yes, you can use butter substitutes like margarine or other plant-based kinds of butter. But as I mentioned at the beginning of the post, make sure it’s good quality and that it has a good butter flavor.

I also suggest to use salted butter for this recipe, but you can also easily use unsalted and just add extra seasoning to taste.

rice with basil, a slice of butter and a fork
overhead of tomato risotto in a white plate with basil leaves

The Recipe

If you like this recipe, try also these other Risotto recipes:

overhead of tomato risotto in a white plate with basil leaves

Butter and Tomato Risotto

A creamy flavorful summer risotto with fresh basil tomato sauce and salted butter.
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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 2 people
Author: Jessica – Cooking my Dreams


  • 1 lb Roma Tomatoes
  • 1/2 White Onion
  • 5.6 oz Risotto Rice, Carnaroli
  • 1/4 cup White Wine
  • 2 cups Vegetable Stock
  • 4-5 Basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup Butter
  • Parmigiano cheese, optional


  • Bring a large pot of water to boil, score an X at the bottom of the tomatoes and toss them in the boiling water until the peel starts coming off (a couple of minutes).
  • Drain them with a skimmer and move them to a bowl of ice-cold water. You can then use the same boiling water for the vegetable stock.
  • Remove the peel of the tomatoes and toss them in a blender. Blend until you get a smooth sauce.
  • Finely chop the onion and add it to a large pan with a knob of butter. Add the rice and sauté at medium heat for a couple of minutes to toast the rice. Make sure to not burn the rice nor the onion.
  • Add the white wine and let it evaporate completely. Then add a couple of ladles of vegetable stock. Once the rice starts to absorb it, add the tomato sauce and the basil leaves.
  • Stir well and let it cook until the rice is al dente, adding more stock if it becomes too dense. When the rice is cooked, turn off the heat and add the butter. Mix well to incorporate while it melts, then serve immediately. You can add some freshly grated Parmigiano on top.


Calories: 576 kcal | Carbohydrates: 78 g | Protein: 8 g | Fat: 24 g | Saturated Fat: 15 g | Cholesterol: 61 mg

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: easy risotto, italian recipe, vegetarian risotto
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