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Milk Street Bowtie Tomato Rice with Oregano and Feta

Tomato Rice with Oregano and Feta

25 minutes

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Tomato Rice with Oregano and Feta

Free

This is our adaptation of Diane Kochilas’ risotto-esque tomato rice. The grains are cooked until al dente (the centers are still slightly firm) and the consistency is a little loose and soupy. We opted to use grape or cherry tomatoes because they tend to be dependably good no matter the season. Kochilas uses ouzo, the Greek anise-flavored liqueur, as seasoning in her rice; if you prefer, substitute an equal amount of white wine plus 1 teaspoon fennel seeds. To avoid a flare-up, take the skillet off the heat when adding the ouzo (this step is not necessary if using wine instead of ouzo).

4

Servings

Tip

Don't use long-grain rice. It lacks the starchiness of Arborio rice and won't yield a creamy, risotto-like consistency.

25 minutes

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more to serve
1 tablespoon salted butter
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
1 tablespoon tomato paste
3 medium garlic cloves, finely grated
1 cup Arborio rice
⅓ cup ouzo (see note)
3½ cups hot water, divided
¼ cup minced fresh oregano
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (½ cup)
Ingredients
  • 3

    tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more to serve

  • 1

    tablespoon salted butter

  • 1

    small red onion, finely chopped

  • 1

    pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved

  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper

  • 1

    tablespoon tomato paste

  • 3

    medium garlic cloves, finely grated

  • 1

    cup Arborio rice

  • cup ouzo (see note)

  • cups hot water, divided

  • ¼

    cup minced fresh oregano

  • 2

    tablespoons lemon juice

  • 2

    ounces feta cheese, crumbled (½ cup)

Directions
  1. 01
    In a 12-inch skillet over medium-high, heat the oil and butter until the butter melts. Add the onion, tomatoes and ½ teaspoon salt, then cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion has softened and the tomatoes begin to release their juice, about 5 minutes.
    See Demo
    tomato-rice-step-1
  2. 02
    Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, until the tomato paste begins to brown, about 1 minute. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the rice and cook, stirring constantly, until the grains are translucent at the edges, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the ouzo. Return to medium-high and bring to a simmer, then cook, stirring, until most of the moisture has been absorbed, about 1 minute.
    See Demo
    tomato-rice-step-2
  3. 03
    Stir in 3 cups of the hot water and ¾ teaspoons salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce to medium and cook uncovered, stirring often and briskly, until the rice is al dente (tender but with some firmness at the center) and the consistency is creamy but still rather loose, 8 to 10 minutes; adjust the heat as needed to maintain a vigorous simmer. If the rice is thick and dry but the grains are still too firm, add the remaining ½ cup hot water and continue to cook, stirring, until the rice is al dente.
    See Demo
    tomato-rice-step-3
  4. 04
    Off heat, stir in the oregano and lemon juice, then taste and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving bowl and sprinkle with the feta. Serve with oil for drizzling.
    See Demo
    tomato-rice-step-4
Tip: Don't use long-grain rice. It lacks the starchiness of Arborio rice and won't yield a creamy, risotto-like consistency.
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Reviews
Bicka B.

A great take on risotto. The addition of the feta ups the saltiness so in the future I will cut way back on the salt. Served with garlic lemon marinated shrimp which cooked on top of the rice with the lid on for around 5 minutes.

Jocelyn M.

I live in a dry house, no ouzo or wine. What would you recommend instead? I would think that the fennel seeds are a given, but water with a touch of vinegar for the acid? Crushed or whole fennel seeds?
Also, I'm dying to try the risotto riff using couscous, that technique would work here right?

Brady S.

This dish is fabulous - I made it with the white wine & fennel adaptation and still delicious. Maybe our rice is old, but it took at least double the time and far more added water to cook it to al dente.


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Tomato Rice with Oregano and Feta

Get Ready to Cook

4

Servings

25 minutes

Tip

Don't use long-grain rice. It lacks the starchiness of Arborio rice and won't yield a creamy, risotto-like consistency.

Ingredients
  • 3

    tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more to serve

  • 1

    tablespoon salted butter

  • 1

    small red onion, finely chopped

  • 1

    pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved

  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper

  • 1

    tablespoon tomato paste

  • 3

    medium garlic cloves, finely grated

  • 1

    cup Arborio rice

  • cup ouzo (see note)

  • cups hot water, divided

  • ¼

    cup minced fresh oregano

  • 2

    tablespoons lemon juice

  • 2

    ounces feta cheese, crumbled (½ cup)

Step 1 of 4

Begin Sauce

3
tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1
tablespoon salted butter
1
small red onion, finely chopped
½
teaspoon kosher salt

In a 12-inch skillet over medium-high, heat the oil and butter until the butter melts. Add the onion, tomatoes and ½ teaspoon salt, then cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion has softened and the tomatoes begin to release their juice, about 5 minutes.

Step 2 of 4

Add Rice

1
tablespoon tomato paste
3
medium garlic cloves, finely grated
1
cup Arborio rice
cup ouzo (see note)

Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, until the tomato paste begins to brown, about 1 minute. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.


Add the rice and cook, stirring constantly, until the grains are translucent at the edges, 1 to 2 minutes.


Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the ouzo. Return to medium-high and bring to a simmer, then cook, stirring, until most of the moisture has been absorbed, about 1 minute.

Step 3 of 4

Cook Rice Until Al Dente

cups hot water, divided
¾
teaspoons kosher salt

Stir in 3 cups of the hot water and ¾ teaspoons salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce to medium and cook uncovered, stirring often and briskly, until the rice is al dente (tender but with some firmness at the center) and the consistency is creamy but still rather loose, 8 to 10 minutes; adjust the heat as needed to maintain a vigorous simmer.


If the rice is thick and dry but the grains are still too firm, add the remaining ½ cup hot water and continue to cook, stirring, until the rice is al dente.

Step 4 of 4

Add Finishing Touches

¼
cup minced fresh oregano
2
tablespoons lemon juice
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
2
ounces feta cheese, crumbled (½ cup)
3
extra-virgin olive oil to serve

Off heat, stir in the oregano and lemon juice, then taste and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving bowl and sprinkle with the feta. Serve with oil for drizzling.

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