Home » Blog » All Recipes » Italian » Basil Pesto Risotto

Basil Pesto Risotto

5 from 1 vote

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy.

Fresh and bright flavors from basil pesto in a creamy and cheesy Parmesan risotto.

Cheesy Italian Parmesan risotto recipe mixed with fresh basil pesto. Vegetarian and gluten free (GF). Eat on its own, as a side dish, or add your favorite protein. Basil Pesto Risotto | Three Olives Branch | www.threeolivesbranch.com #vegetarianrecipes #risotto #italianrecipes #glutenfree #pestoBasil Pesto Risotto uses the bright and fresh flavors of basil pesto in a creamy and cheesy Parmesan risotto.

Cheesy Italian Parmesan risotto recipe mixed with fresh basil pesto. Vegetarian and gluten free (GF). Eat on its own, as a side dish, or add your favorite protein. Basil Pesto Risotto | Three Olives Branch | www.threeolivesbranch.com #vegetarianrecipes #risotto #italianrecipes #glutenfree #pestoThis post contains affiliate links.

I am OBSESSED with risotto.  I am always trying to hunt down restaurants that serve risotto, especially in Italy, because it requires love and attention in order to serve it, so it will almost always be amazing.  Part of the excitement of when I do find risotto is that it is not very common since it does require some love to make it, so it makes it all that more exciting.  Basil Pesto Risotto is packed full of flavor!

Basil pesto is also one of my favorite things.  So OF COURSE I needed to put them together in this Basil Pesto Risotto, and honestly I do not know why it took me so long to do it.  I fell in love with pesto when I was living in Italy for college.  The best Italian food is simple and fresh flavors, exactly like pesto.  Pesto is so incredibly fast and easy to make that it makes a regular appearance during the week.  Pesto is made with fresh, bright flavors and is perfect with pasta, vegetables, chicken, beef, and more!  Get our recipe for Basil Pesto here!

Cheesy Italian Parmesan risotto recipe mixed with fresh basil pesto. Vegetarian and gluten free (GF). Eat on its own, as a side dish, or add your favorite protein. Basil Pesto Risotto | Three Olives Branch | www.threeolivesbranch.com #vegetarianrecipes #risotto #italianrecipes #glutenfree #pestoRisotto was always somewhat intimidating to me because I would hear about how difficult it is to cook with all of the stirring and the gradual adding of liquid, and so I avoided it for a long time.  But I have always loved it so I knew I needed to give it a go.  Turns out making risotto is not so complicated!  It just takes a little time and attention with the stirring.

Does the rice type really matter?

Yes! Arborio rice is high in starch and as this starch is released in the cooking process, it gives risotto the creamy texture.  Arborio is also a short grain which means it stays a little firm and chewy.  You want risotto to have just a little bite or texture to it and not be soggy or too soft.  You can find arborio rice at most grocery stores.  I like to get mine online in bulk here.

Do I really need to stir it that much?

In my opinion, yes.  Some people say that they do not notice a difference and just let the rice sit there and cook in all of the liquid at once.  But I DO notice a difference.  The stirring and gradually adding of the liquid definitely makes the risotto creamier.  Grab a glass of wine or a friend and hang out with your risotto for a bit, stirring as it cooks.  Yes, you can go back and forth to the pot stirring every few minutes, but the best ever risotto I made was when I was constantly stirring.

Can I just use my canned Parmesan instead?

The quality of Parmesan in this dish is extremely important.  The cheese is a primary flavor and so you want to use ingredients that taste good as it will just make the dish better.  If you use that pre-ground, cheese in a can stuff, it will not taste as good.  You get out of it what you put into it!  I love to buy wedges of Parmesan Reggiano cheese and use one of my favorite tools, a food processor, to shred the brick and then I keep it in my refrigerator in plastic bags so that I always have fresh, quality cheese shredded on hand.  If you make healthier and higher-quality foods easier to access, you will use them more often.

Cheesy Italian Parmesan risotto recipe mixed with fresh basil pesto. Vegetarian and gluten free (GF). Eat on its own, as a side dish, or add your favorite protein. Basil Pesto Risotto | Three Olives Branch | www.threeolivesbranch.com #vegetarianrecipes #risotto #italianrecipes #glutenfree #pestoFind more of our risotto recipes here!

Cheesy Italian Parmesan risotto recipe mixed with fresh basil pesto. Vegetarian and gluten free (GF). Eat on its own, as a side dish, or add your favorite protein. Basil Pesto Risotto | Three Olives Branch | www.threeolivesbranch.com #vegetarianrecipes #risotto #italianrecipes #glutenfree #pesto

Basil Pesto Risotto

Fresh and bright flavors from basil pesto in a creamy and cheesy Parmesan risotto.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Gluten Free, Vegetarian
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 749kcal

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Place the stock in a small pot and heat over medium low. You want the stock to be warm when adding it to the risotto so that the temperature change does not affect the rice.
  • Make your pesto if it is not done already.
  • In a large pot, melt 3 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. When melted, add the red onion. Cook until the onion is translucent but not yet browning, approximately 3-5 minutes.
  • Add the rice and stir. Continue cooking to slightly toast the rice until it is just starting to show a little brown color, approximately 3-5 minutes.
  • Add the white wine to the pot. Cook until the rice is almost dry, where most of the wine has been absorbed.
  • Add one cup of stock to the rice. Stir continuously until most of the stock has been absorbed. Repeat this process 1/2 cup of stock at a time until the rice is cooked thoroughly. You want the rice to have just a little bit of bite left so that it is not completely mushy. Depending on your rice, you may need more or less stock for the right consistency so start tasting the rice after 4 cups.
  • When your rice is cooked through, remove the pot from the heat. Add the rest of the butter, the Parmesan cheese, and pesto sauce. It is important to do this before adding salt and pepper because the cheese is salty. Stir to combine.
  • Taste the risotto and season with additional pesto, salt, and pepper as desired. Garnish with toasted pine nuts if desired for an extra crunch. Serve immediately.

Notes

Get arborio rice online here.
Use any white wine that you enjoy drinking. I advise staying away from sweet wines as it will make the risotto very sweet as well. Chardonnay or sauvignon blanc are the ones I tend to use.
You can use jarred pesto but I find homemade is best. Get our recipe for Basil Pesto here!  This recipe will give you about 1 1/2-2 cups of pesto sauce.
To ensure a truly vegetarian dish, use vegetarian cheeses.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 749kcal | Carbohydrates: 70g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 40g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 65mg | Sodium: 2285mg | Potassium: 135mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 2375IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 297mg | Iron: 4mg
By on September 12th, 2018

About Kim

Kim has grown up with a passion for cooking good food! You can find her in the kitchen experimenting with new recipes, making dog treats, and eating Italian food!

More posts by this author.

Leave a Comment

Recipe Rating




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Three Olives Branch