20-Dollar, 20-Minute Meals

Couscous Risotto with Tomato, Oregano + Mozzarella

By • December 31, 2013 • 3 Comments

149 Save

If you like it, save it!

Save and organize all of the stuff you love in one place.

Got it!

If you like something…

Click the heart, it's called favoriting. Favorite the stuff you like.

Got it!

Every week, Caroline Wright creates simple, civilized recipes for Food52 that feed four -- for under $20, in under 20 minutes.

Today: Caroline shares an unexpected pantry staple -- and a recipe to use it in.

Risotto from Food52

Passata -- puréed tomatoes, usually uncooked -- is one of those ingredients that I always keep in my pantry, and I’m surprised that it isn’t more common. It lends that bright, tangy flavor of the quickest sauces made from summer tomatoes, so it feels special, somehow, to eat it on a cold winter’s day. This recipe is a pilaf masquerading as a risotto, using the swiftly simmered Israeli couscous pasta in lieu of rice. The result is warm and comforting, reminiscent of a fine risotto and ripe tomatoes.

Couscous Risotto with Tomato, Oregano + Mozzarella

Serves 4

1 1/2 cup passata (from a 24-ounce bottle)
2 cups chicken broth
6 sprigs fresh oregano, divided
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for serving
1 cup Israeli couscous
1 garlic clove, chopped
2 ounces fresh mozzarella, pulled into bite-sized pieces 

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.


As a freelance food writer and cook, I first wrote this style of recipe as a column on my blog, The Wright Recipes, as an excuse to cook good food for my friends in a quick and simple way. 

Twenty-Dollar, Twenty-Minute™ Meals grew into a cookbook that was published by Workman in May 2013. The recipes found here are original, made especially for Food52 to once again celebrate simple food with friends.

Photo by Caroline Wright

Jump to Comments (3)

Tags: weeknight cooking, pantry, tomatoes, couscous, risotto

Comments (3)


2 months ago Melissa Houghtalin

This is the BEST. So delicious, warming and hearty. I served alongside breaded chicken breasts.


about 1 year ago ATG117

I'd never heard of passata. Have I been missing something? Is it sold at stores like WF?


about 1 year ago Kate

This looks amazing. I love the idea of a tomato-y risotto! Thanks for sharing.