Sunday, February 8, 2015

Risotto with Pesto and Peas

I don't know why, but I've always been a little intimidated by risotto. Maybe it's the way people talk about it. It has always seemed like a big deal to me, not something you try without skills and experience, definitely not something you make on a weeknight. 

Well, this recipe for risotto with pesto and peas from the Food Network proves all that wrong. It was easy, not intimidating at all, took all of 45 minutes to make, and is pretty healthy to boot. It clocks in at 465 calories per serving. That's pretty dang good for a meal that tastes like it could be served in a restaurant. 

This is indulgent and easy. That makes it a winner to me! If you like cheesy goodness in a calorie friendly way (yes, it is possible) try this soon.

Leek broth...mmmmmm.

Simmer and stir, simmer and stir, simmer and stir, and repeat.

Getting close now...

Pesto goes in last, with the cheese.

This tastes way more indulgent that it really is.

Risotto with Pesto and Peas

From: the Food Network
Time: about 40-45 minutes
Servings: 4 servings


- 3 leeks thinly sliced (white and light green parts only)
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, divided
- 1 cup arborio rice
- 1/2 dry white wine (I used Chardonnay, which is not dry, because it is what I had on hand and it turned out fine.)
- 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
- 3/4 cup diced ham
- 3/4 cup pesto
- 1 cup mozzarella (I cubed the rest of a leftover ball and subbed in shredded mozza to get to a cup)
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- salt

Note: you could easily make this a vegetarian meal by leaving out the ham.


Make a broth: bring 6 cups of water and 1 teaspoon of salt to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Add the sliced leeks and simmer 3 to 4 minutes. Remove leeks with a slotted spoon and set aside for later. Keep the broth gently simmering.

While that is simmering away, heat 1 tablespoon butter in a wide saucepan or deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add the rice and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the wine and cook, stirring, until the wine is almost evaporated, about another minute.

Add 2 cups of the hot leek broth to the rice and cook, stirring occasionally, until almost absorbed, about 6 minutes. Turn the heat down to keep at a gentle simmer. Add one more cup of broth and continue to cook, stirring, until almost absorbed, about 5 minutes. 

Now, add the leeks, peas and 1 more cup of the broth and cook, stirring, until almost absorbed, about 5 more minutes. Taste to see if the rice is fully cooked, if not, add a little more broth and continue to cook until desired texture.

Stir in the ham and other 1 tablespoon of butter. Remove from the heat. 

Stir in the pesto (The original recipe says to keep some out as a garnish, but I mixed all mine in.), the mozzarella, and the Parmesan. Season with salt to taste. 


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