Sunday, March 16, 2014

Eat Your Greens #SundaySupper...Featuring Indulgent Pesto Risotto

This week's #SundaySupper theme is Eat Your Greens...since Monday is St. Patrick's Day and next week is the official start of Spring! Our host this week is Foodie Stuntman from Crazy Foodie Stunts, and he asked us to share our favorite green foods. My favorite food is's bursting with flavor and texture, and it's so versatile. I thought about making a pasta dish, but I was in the mood for risotto this week. What I'm sharing today is my Indulgent Pesto Risotto. With half-and-half, butter, and a generous helping of purchased's indeed indulgent. We eat risotto about once every month or two, so it's a special treat for us. This one's a keeper, with shaved parmesan and pecans on top for a bit of extra flavor and texture.

Since we're all friends, I have a risotto secret to share with you today: carnaroli rice. Did you know that there arborio isn't the only rice you can use to make risotto? I read about Italian carnaroli rice in a Thomas Keller cookbook a few years back and gave it a it's my preferred risotto rice. I find that it results in a creamier risotto texture, and I think the grains cook up plumper. I buy it at my local gourmet grocery, so seek it out and give it a try for this risotto if at all possible. However, you can certainly use arborio and still have a fabulous risotto.

Indulgent Pesto Risotto
a Weekend Gourmet Original

  • 1 tbs. olive oil
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 large garlic clove, finely chopped or grated
  • 1 cup carnaroli rice (arborio can also be used)
  • 1/2 dry white wine
  • 1 tbs. chopped parsley
  • 1 tbs. chopped oregano
  • 4 cups chicken stock, warmed
  • 1/2 cup prepared pesto
  • 2 tbs. butter
  • 1/3 cup half-and-half
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 cup shaved parmesan
Step 1: Place the olive oil in a large saucepan or paella-shaped pan. Heat over medium until the oil is hot. Add the garlic and shallot and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the rice and stir to coat with oil; cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring. Add the wine and cook until it is absorbed into the rice. Add the parsley, oregano, and 1 cup of the stock. 
Step 2: Stir continuously as the risotto cooks, until nearly all of the first cup of stock has been incorporated. Repeat the process 3 more times, until all of the stock has been used and the risotto is al dente. Taste a grain or two to ensure you have the right texture. All together, this will take 20-30 minutes. Risotto is a labor of love, so put on some music and relax...don't rush it! Here's how the risotto will look as the stock is incorporated...and when it's time to add more stock to the pan.
Step 3: When the risotto is cooked, turn off the heat. Add the pesto, butter, and half-and-half. Stir to combine and let sit for 5 minutes. This gives you time to whip up a salad or sear some seafood to go with this tasty dish. Before serving, sprinkle the pecans on top and place the shaved parmesan in the center. By using this particular pan, I was able to cook and serve it in the same dish.
This indulgent risotto is bursting with flavor! The pesto, oregano, and parsley provide a nice herbal note...and the pecans provide a bit of crunch that plays nicely off the nuts in the pesto. Just before serving, give the risotto a stir to incorporate the parmesan. The residual heat will melt the shavings and transform them into little gooey pockets of cheese. This risotto is certainly hearty enough to be a meatless dinner, but I decided to give some shrimp a quick sear and serve a few on top of each bowl of risotto -- along with a bit more parmesan. Those additions really took this dish over the top! However you decide to have this risotto...just make sure that you do. This one's a keeper and so full of flavor. In fact, we loved it so much that we finished the entire pan...just the two of us!

Just wait until you see all of the amazing dishes that the rest of my #SundaySupper friends are sharing today. We've got green dishes ranging from appetizers to drinks and dessert. You're sure to find something to add to your St. Patrick's Day feast tomorrow! 

Green Light Appetizers and Sides
Getting Greens Through Salads
Entre├ęs That Will Leave You Green With Envy
Desserts and Beverages That Will Make Others Turn Green
Join the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET.  Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. Check out our #SundaySupper Pinterest board for more fabulous recipes and food photos.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

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