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Eat & Drink 09 Jul 2012

Pesto Risotto with Summer Vegetables

This dish is perfect for a great dinner party on a warm summer night. Summer vegetables are bright, crisp and in season, so your meal will be colorful and extremely tasty. The pesto adds a sweet, nutty flavor to the risotto, which is perfectly balanced by the fresh simplicity of sautéed vegetables. Feel free to add any vegetables that spark your fancy, just remember not to cook them too long—summer veggies are better kept chunky, crisp and not too soft! Enjoy!



(About 5 portions)


1 tbsp salted butter

1 yellow onion, diced

1 ½ cups Arborio rice

2/3 cup of light white wine, Sauvignon Blanc if possible

5 cups of chicken stock

1 cup pesto (either a good store-bought pesto, or use our recipe below!)

Salt and Pepper to taste (about 2 tsp of each, don’t skimp!)

Fresh basil leaves to garnish

1 tsp toasted pine nuts, for garnish.



  1. Add the chicken stock to a small saucepan, and set over a medium-low heat. If you don’t have quite 5 cups, add a bit of water to make up the difference. Keep the stock warm while cooking the risotto.
  2. Add the butter to a very large sauté pan over a medium-high heat.
  3. When melted, add the diced onions to the pan. Sauté the onions until translucent, about 3 minutes, but do not allow to burn.
  4. Add the Arborio rice to the pan and coat with the onions. Allow the rice to toast slightly, but not brown, about 1 minute.
  5. Add the wine to the pan and let it be absorbed by the rice, stirring continuously.
  6. Once the wine has absorbed, add 1 cup of the warm chicken stock to the risotto. Stir continuously until the stock has absorbed.
  7. Repeat with all of the chicken stock, a ½ cup at a time, letting each ½ cup absorb before you add the next one. Stir continuously.
  8. Once all of the chicken stock is absorbed, the risotto should be creamy and rich.
  9. Turn the heat down to low, and add the pesto into the risotto. Stir until the pesto is absorbed and combined completely.
  10. Add the salt and pepper, to taste.



2 cups of fresh basil leaves

2 cloves of garlic

¼ cup pine nuts

¾ cup olive oil

½ cup grated parmesan cheese

Salt and Pepper to taste.

–       Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth.


Summer Vegetables


1 red onion, sliced into big chunks

2 zucchinis, sliced into big rounds

2 yellow squash, sliced into big rounds

1 red bell pepper, sliced into chunks

1 yellow bell pepper, sliced into chunks

1 package of white mushrooms, sliced into chunks

15 cherry tomatoes, sliced in half

1 tbsp olive oil

2 tsp red pepper chili flakes

Salt and Pepper to taste



  1. Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over a medium-high heat.
  2. Add the onions and chili flakes and sauté for 1 minute.
  3. Add the zucchini, squash and bell peppers and sauté for 3 minutes.
  4. Add the mushrooms and tomatoes, and turn the heat down to medium.
  5. Stir, cover and let cook for about 5-10 minutes, until all the vegetables are cooked through but crisp.
  6. Add salt and pepper to taste.


To serve:

  1. Add the pesto risotto to the middle of a large bowl, leaving a space around the sides.
  2. Place the vegetables around the risotto in the bowl.
  3. Sprinkle the fresh basil leaves and pine nuts over the dish, and a crack of black pepper.
  4. Enjoy!


About the author


Pandora’s Addictions: Overly high heels, cooking for her husband Jason, strong coffee, taking beautiful photographs, curling up with a book (every day of the week), playing the piano, Notre Dame football, The Rolling Stones, English tea, wizards, puppies, singing any Broadway song, Cadbury’s chocolate, French wine. View All of Pandora's Articles



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