Spring Pea, Artichoke & Pesto Risotto

No, you don’t need to stand over the pot of risotto constantly stirring for 30 minutes to end up with a beautifully creamy dish. That is a myth. You will, however, need to check on it every 10 minutes or so, giving it a good stir and making sure it has enough liquid. As long as you do, and give it a vigorous stir at the end, the rice will release its starches creating a creamy risotto, with no cream. A quick and simple basil pesto helps flavor the rice, along with peas and artichokes, for a light spring meal.

Spring Pea, Artichoke & Pesto Risotto

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
No, you don't need to stand over the pot of risotto constantly stirring for 30 minutes to end up with a beautifully creamy dish. That is a myth. You will, however, need to check on it every 10 minutes or so, giving it a good stir and making sure it has enough liquid. As long as you do, and give it a vigorous stir at the end, the rice will release its starches creating a creamy risotto, with no cream. A quick and simple basil pesto helps flavor the rice, along with peas and artichokes, for a light spring meal.
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Course Main Course
Servings 4 people as a main dish

Ingredients
 

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 medium sweet onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 3-4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided use
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen peas
  • 1 can artichoke hearts in water, drained and halved
  • ½ cup basil, tightly packed
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
  • ¼ cup freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest

Instructions
 

  • Begin by making the pesto. In a small food processor (mini-prep), combine the basil, pine nuts, ½ teaspoon salt, cheese, 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, and one garlic clove. Blend until well pureed.
  • Warm the olive oil in a medium sauce pan. Add the onion and saute until softened, about 8-10 minutes. Add the remaining sliced garlic and the rice and stir over medium heat for 2 minutes. Pour in 2 cups of stock and 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to a simmer and cover. Turn heat to low and cook for 8-10 minutes.
  • Check the rice and stir for about two minutes. Add another cup of stock, bring back to a simmer and cover again for another 10 minutes. Repeat again, adding only as much liquid as need to keep it well moistened.
  • After a full 30 minutes of simmering, taste the rice for doneness. It should be nice and softened by now. If not, keep cooking, adding liquid as necessary. When it is ready, stir vigorously for 2-3 minutes to release the starches. Add enough more stock so that it is well moistened, but not soupy.
  • Stir in the peas and artichokes, along with the lemon zest and some freshly cracked black pepper. Cook another minute to ensure everything is warmed through. Finally, add in the pesto. Taste for seasoning and add more salt if necessary. Serve warm with more grated cheese.
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