Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Pesto Risotto

Pesto Risotto

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  • 3 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Tbsp Butter
  • 2 Shallots, peeled, sliced thinly
  • 2/3 cup (5 oz.) Risotto Arborio Rice
  •  4 cups clear vegetable or chicken stock, heated  to simmer
  • 3 Tbsp Basil Pesto (see recipe below)
  • ¼ cup toasted Pine Nuts
  • Parmesan cheese (optional)
  1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat until hot, add the rice and toast, stirring constantly for about 1 minute. Add the shallots and cook until translucent and softened, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add 1/2 cup of the simmering, vegetable or chicken broth, and stir until almost completely absorbed. Continue cooking the rice, adding the broth one ladle at a time, stirring constantly and allowing each addition of broth to be absorbed before adding the next.  Continue this process until the rice is tender and creamy yet still firm to the bite, or al dente, about 25-30  minutes.
  3. Remove from the heat and stir in the Pesto, butter, salt and pepper.  When ready to serve at the toasted pine nuts to the top and if you would like, add a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese to the top of each serving.
Serves 4-6

Just about there, add the pesto and continue cooking until most of the broth is absorbed and risotto is creamy.
When you toast the pine nuts, do not take your eyes off of them or you will burn them!  This is a heavy, enamel pan and it stays very hot so when they are toasted, I remove them to a plate to cool.  You won't need any oil, there is enough natural oils in the nuts to toast them to a nice golden brown.

Here is the pesto recipe I have used for many years.  Not sure where I found it, but it is perfect every time.  I added the addition of lemon zest because I like the flavor and it will help to keep your basil green.  It freezes well, too.  Add a drizzle of olive oil on the top of each jar before you put the lid on when freezing.

Basil Pesto Sauce

4 cups tightly packed fresh Basil leaves (all stems removed)
1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 teaspoon fresh Lemon Zest
6 sprigs fresh Parsley, (leaves only stems removed)
Sea Salt and ground Pepper to taste
1/4 cup Pine Nuts, Walnuts, or Almonds
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan or Romano Cheese

Wash the Parsley and Basil leaves in cool water, spin until very dry in a salad spinner or use paper towels.  Place leaves in a food processor.  Add Oil, Garlic, Lemon Zest, Sea Salt, Pepper, and Nuts.  Pulse blend until all is chopped, stopping to scrape down sides.  Add the grated Parmesan and give a few quick pulses to blend.  Refrigerate in airtight container.  Makes about 1 1/2 to 2 cups of pesto.

This is a what a double batch of the recipe will make.

This risotto is excellent with grilled or baked salmon!


  1. This risotto looks yummy! I'm assuming the rice goes in in step 1, but is it before or after the shallots? That step got left out! Thanks for this and for the pesto recipe as well. I love pesto - and I love risotto, too, but I haven't made a good batch yet....

    1. Thank you for pointing that out. I can't believe I forgot to add the rice! I will make the changes to the recipe now. I think you will really enjoy this dish.


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