If there is truly one popular fruit of summer, this is tomato 🍅. And yes, it is a fruit! Commonly eaten and used as a vegetable, tomatoes are highly consumed in Mediterranean cuisine.
Greek tomato risotto (aka ntomatorizo or tomatorizo) is an ode to tomatoes and it's a Greek tomato risotto dish. Usually made with fresh ripe tomatoes out of the garden, it is a very easy, quick, and nutritious dish.
For me, ntomatorizo is one of grandma's summer comfort dishes. Using only ingredients grown in her garden (except rice 😄), she prepared an amazing vegan dish. Inspired by her recipe and also adding different types of tomatoes, I created this recipe.
🤔 What are the health benefits of tomatoes?
Tomato is a berry fruit in the nightshade family and native to Central and South America. The Spanish conquerors brought tomatoes to Europe and they flourished in the Mediterranean environment. They come in different shapes, colors (yellow, orange, green, and purple), and flavor profiles.
Tomatoes consist mainly of water, carbs, and fiber. They are also a good source of vitamins (C, K, B9) and minerals (potassium). Tomatoes are a major source of antioxidants like lycopene, a powerful antioxidant linked to many health benefits, and B-carotene, which is converted into vitamin A.
The consumption of tomato and tomato-based products (like ketchup, juice, paste, and sauce) is linked with skin health, a lower risk of heart disease, and cancer prevention, especially prostate, lung, and stomach cancers.
Clinical studies indicate benefits against inflammation and oxidative stress. Also, that lycopene may lower bad cholesterol (LDL), and decrease the risk of blood clotting, heart attacks, and stroke. B-carotene may protect against breast cancer.
Rice: I use medium-grain rice called Carolina. Arborio rice can also be used for this recipe.
Cherry tomatoes: Small, sweet, full of flavor, and with a crisp bite. I grow them in my garden every summer.
Roma tomatoes: Great for making the base of ntomatorizo. Meaty, tangy, and with fewer seeds than other tomato types.
Sun-dried tomatoes: They add a chewy texture and a sweet, salty, tart, intense flavor.
Tomato paste: To add a more intense color and because tomato paste is richer in lycopene than raw tomatoes.
Olive oil: I use extra virgin olive oil for the true Mediterranean experience.
Herbs and spices: Onion and garlic are added for flavor, alongside salt, freshly ground black pepper, and/or fresh/dried spearmint or basil.
Pepper: I use green or red sweet pepper or a combination of them. If you like spicy food, add 1 chilly pepper.
👩🏻🍳 Tips & tricks
To grate the tomatoes, make a cross at the bottom and grate as close to the skin with a coarse grater over a bowl. Discard the skin that is left.
To add an extra depth of flavor, use vegetable stock and/or a small addition of dry white wine instead of water.
To make ntomatorizo more fragrant and extra Greek, add 1 tablespoon of ouzo.
Ntomatorizo tastes best when served warm.
Use a heavy bottom pot to make the recipe, to avoid burning the ntomatorizo.
If you want to avoid alcohol, just omit and add the same amount in water or vegetable stock.
The tomatoes can be blended in a blender or food processor and not grated by hand.
Best served warm, but also tasty when cold, ntomatorizo can be served with:
- Feta cheese. Crumbled on top, or on the side.
- Sprinkled with Parmesan cheese or mixed into the risotto.
- Any green salad.
- Toasted bread.
- Chili flakes on top (if you are a spicy food lover)
- Olives (if you like extra saltiness)
Ntomatorizo is also also a great side dish to accompany other meat and fish dishes.
🥡 How to store
Store ntomatorizo in an airtight container, in the fridge, for up to 3 days.
I don't recommend freezing rice dishes.
Greek Tomato Risotto (ntomatorizo)
- 1 big red onion finely diced
- 1 clove garlic minced optional
- 1 medium Anaheim green/red pepper halved & thinly sliced
- 4 tablespoon olive oil extra virgin
- 1 teaspoon tomato paste
- 8 sun-dried tomatoes
- 400 g/14 oz grated tomatoes Roma
- 300 g/10.6 oz rice medium grain
- 8-10 cherry tomatoes
- 80 ml/⅓ cup dry white wine
- 1 tablespoon ouzo
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika optional
- 840 ml/3½ cups warm water/vegetable stock
- 10 leaves fresh basil
- Place a heavy bottom deep pan or pot into medium-high heat.
- Pour 2 tablespoon of olive oil into the pan and when is heated, add the onion, garlic, and pepper and sauté for 5 minutes until soft.
- When the veggies soften, add the rice and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring, until is starting to be translucent.
- Add the tomato paste and pour the wine and ouzo. Stir and wait until they evaporate.
- Add the grated tomatoes and spices. When the rice has absorbed most of the tomato juice add one cup of warm water/vegetable stock at a time. In the last amount of water/stock, we add the rest.
- Add the sun-dried tomatoes and half of the cherry tomatoes, sliced in the middle. Reduce the heat to medium-low and let the risotto simmer until it becomes creamy but still al dente.
- Remove the pan from the heat and stir the herbs of choice. Give it a taste and season according to preference.
- Mix the rest of the olive oil. Put a lid on the pan and let it sit for about five minutes.
- Serve while still hot with the rest of the cherry tomatoes some crumbled feta cheese, grated parmesan, extra sun-dried tomatoes, or fresh herbs on top.
🍋 Nutrition facts
Servings: 1 (556g) | Calories: 335kcal | Carbohydrates: 65g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 5.4g | Saturated Fat: 0.8g | Trans Fat: 0g | Cholesterol: 3mg | Sodium: 377mg | Potassium: 1193mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 5.05g | Vitamin A: 1803IU | Vitamin C: 65.6mg | Calcium: 63mg | Iron: 4.83mg