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Basil Pesto Risotto

Fresh and bright flavors from basil pesto in a creamy and cheesy Parmesan risotto.
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time45 mins
Servings: 4 servings


  • 6 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 Tablespoons red onion finely diced
  • 1 1/2 cups arborio rice
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 6 cups vegetable stock
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3/4 cup basil pesto (or more to taste)
  • salt
  • black pepper


  • 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.


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.