I was riding the train home from the city thinking about what to make. I have plenty of basil, and a colleague from Germany had chided me the other day that I had not yet prepared a risotto, so Pesto Risotto seemed a natural fit. I also used some of the sweet butter I made back in March. I always get excited when I’m dicing the shallots. “I’m cooking with shallots… that I grew!” I didn’t have any pine nuts for the pesto so I substituted walnuts.
It turned out to be quite filling and good, the creamy base notes of risotto punctuated by the high notes of the basil and garlic. A lovely chord indeed!
Make the pesto first:
1/2 cup walnuts
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3 cups loosely packed basil leaves
2/3 cup +/- olive oil
- Turn on food processor and drop in garlic. Process until finely chopped.
- Turn it off, add the basil, cheese, salt, pepper, nuts.
- Whizz until all is finely chopped, with motor running, add oil slowly until incorporated but not yet smooth.
Now the risotto:
1.5 cups white wine
4 cups vegetable broth
4 tablespoons butter divided
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 small shallots finely diced
big pinch of salt
big pinch of grounf black pepper
1/4 cup grated Parmesano Romano
1/4 cup pesto
Basil to garnish
- In a medium pot over medium heat add the wine and the broth.
- Heat to simmer and then reduce heat to keep barely simmering
- In a 4 quart pot, add two tablespoons butter and olive oil
- When butter has melted, add the shallots and cook for three minutes until shallots are soft but not browned.
- Add the rice and stir to coat with butter oil mixture, cook stirring constantly about 2 minutes.
- Add 1/2 cup simmering wine broth mixture and cook – stirring until moisture is absorbed
- Continue adding broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly until it is absorbed before adding next bit of broth.
- Repeat until rice is tender, looks creamy but is still al dente – about 15 – 20 minutes
- Stir in cheese, salt pepper and pesto.