Grape Tomatoes

Photo: Danny Kim; Illustrations by John Burgoyne

We’ve always thought that the selling points of the commercial phenomenon known as the grape tomato weren’t selling points at all. High sugar content notwithstanding, a thick skin, less juice, and a long shelf life do not a great tomato make. We now realize that we have wronged the little hybrids. According to I Sodi chef Rita Sodi, they’re the best choice for recipes that call for a firm-fleshed tomato with a low water content, like, say, the one for the Tuscan native’s risotto fresco, below.

Rita Sodi’s Risotto Fresco

2 cups grape tomatoes
2 cups fresh mozzarella
8 cups vegetable stock
2 cups carnaroli rice
1 cup Parmesan, grated
Salt to taste
Extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
8 fresh basil leaves

(1) Halve the grape tomatoes. Cube and drain the mozzarella. Heat stock to a simmer. In a separate heavy-bottomed pot, over medium heat, add 2 cups of the stock to the rice and bring to a boil. While constantly stirring the rice, add remaining stock in small increments until the rice is tender and has a silky consistency, approximately 17 minutes. (Risotto should be creamy and loose enough to pour onto the plate.) Add Parmesan, and salt to taste. (2) Remove from heat, and stir in mozzarella and tomatoes. (3) Finish with olive oil, pepper, and basil.

Grape Tomatoes