I’ve had risotto on my mind for a while now. I made it earlier this year for the first time, and although that recipe didn’t quite do it for me, I felt like I needed to give risotto another try with something a little safer. When I saw a recipe for pesto risotto in “How To Eat Supper”, I knew that would be right up my alley.
I’ve been picking up basil throughout the summer and making pesto, then freezing it. So I didn’t follow the recipe for pesto, I just took some out of the freezer and let it thaw. I did however follow the recipe for making risotto that included boiling it in chicken broth, adding a cup at a time until it was cooked all the way. Oh boy, the result was just what I was looking for. I absolutely loved the freshness of the pesto with the warm, comforting softness of the risotto. And while the risotto takes a little tending, it’s a nice departure from other pastas, making the extra attention worth it.
As if it couldn’t get any better, Lynne Rossetto Kasper gave an additional recipe for the leftovers, fried risotto patties. Ummm, key to my heart. I came home from work all tired and a little ornery, but then I remembered this recipe for fried risotto patties and the night started looking up. I pulled out my day old risotto, made a few little patties, dipped them in egg wash then some panko crumbs and I was minutes away from risotto indulgence. The outside got golden and crispy while the inside remained a little gooey and soft, full of flavor from the pesto. It was a tasty and easy treat after a long day.
based on a recipe from “How To Eat Supper”
pesto, such as this recipe
3 Tablespoons butter or good-tasting extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, minced*
salt and fresh-ground black pepper
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 heaping cup Italian Arborio or Canaroli rice
1/4 cup dry white wine*
3 1/2-4 cups chicken broth
garnish with pine nuts
* I didn’t have either of these and it still turned out tasty.
Prepare pesto and set aside.
In a heavy saucepan, heat the butter or oil over medium heat. Add onions and salt and pepper. Saute until onions are soft and clear, about 3 minutes.
Blend in garlic and rice, cook about 3 minutes, stirring often.
Raise the heat to medium high. Stir in the wine until it’s absorbed. (If you don’t have wine just skip to next step)
Begin adding broth, 1 cup at a time, simmering and stirring each addition until the liquid is absorbed before adding the next cup. Never cover the pot. Once you’ve started adding the broth, the cook time is about 15 minutes.
Afrer cooking about 3 cups, start adding the broth in 1/2 cup portions and begin tasting the risotto.
When it’s ready, the rice should be close to tender, with a little more firmness to the bite than you’d like, and it should be nearly soupy (it will continue cooking and absorb a little more broth in the next step). Never cook the rice to a mush.
Immediately remove the pot from the heat, let it stand for 3 minutes. Fold in the pesto, sprinkle with pine nuts and eat up.