Pesto-ish Risotto

Every fall, black swallowtail caterpillars takeover my backyard basil plants. I needed to make this basil-loaded dish before sharing my plants with them. :/

This risotto was rich, creamy, and hearty. The absolute highlight of the finished dish was the crispy garlic and pan-toasted pine nut topping. Loved it.

This recipe was adapted from Bon Appétit, contributed by Christian Reynoso. I adapted the original recipe to prepare it in a pressure cooker. Easy and elegant.

Yield: 4 to 6 Servings

  • 4 T unsalted butter, divided
  • 2 cups arborio or carnaroli rice
  • 5 to 8 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced, divided
  • 6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 5 T extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup (4 T) raw pine nuts
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 1/2 cups (loosely packed) basil leaves (from 1 large bunch), torn into 1″ pieces
  • shaved or finely grated Parmesan, for serving (I used Parmigiano-Reggiano)
  • Parmesan rind, optional
  • juice of 1/2 large lemon
  1. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a 5 or 7 quart pressure cooker over medium heat.
  2. Add the rice and increase heat to medium-high. Cook, stirring, until grains are partially translucent, about 1 1/2 minutes.
  3. Add 2 cloves of garlic slices and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  4. Add all of the unheated stock; stir.
  5. Lock the lid in place and bring to high pressure over high heat.
  6. Adjust the heat to maintain high pressure. Cook for 7 minutes.
  7. Release the pressure according to the manufacturer’s instructions or place the pot under running cold water. (I used a quick release method.)
  8. Carefully open the lid, being careful of the steam. The stock should be almost completely absorbed but the rice will be covered with a thick layer of milky broth. (more stock can be added at this point if the risotto appears too thick)
  9. Meanwhile, cook the remaining 6 cloves of garlic slices, olive oil, and pine nuts in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until garlic starts to turn golden around edges. Reduce heat to low and continue to cook, stirring often, until pine nuts and garlic are golden, about 5 minutes.
  10. Remove from heat; stir in turmeric and season with pepper, to taste. Set aside.
  11. Stir in remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, the Parmesan rind, if using, into the risotto. Season with salt, to taste.
  12. Stir the freshly squeezed lemon juice into the risotto and add freshly ground black pepper, to taste.
  13. Stir basil into risotto.
  14. Ladle risotto, discarding the Parmesan rind, into shallow bowls. Top with garlic–pine nut oil and Parmesan. Serve.

Fresh Tomato Risotto

My friend has been sharing her beautiful homegrown tomatoes. Lucky me! They are more delicious than my CSA tomatoes. ❤

I try to use them in a special way and I love that this risotto uses fresh tomatoes in two ways- cooked and sliced as a colorful garnish. My homegrown basil and parsley were the icing on the cake.

This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by David Tanis. I attempted to adapt the recipe to cook using my pressure cooker, as I usually do with risotto, but there wasn’t enough liquid for it to cook properly. Cooking this version in the traditional manner is the way to go. 🙂 By using boiling liquid, it was still a quick weeknight dish!

Yield: 4 servings

  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • coarse salt and pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups arborio or carnaroli rice
  • pinch of red-pepper flakes
  • 3 large garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2 cups diced ripe red tomatoes (and all juices)
  • 3 to 4 cups boiling water, chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup grated pecorino or Parmesan, plus more for serving
  • 2 to 4 medium tomatoes, in different colors, sliced
  • chopped parsley, for garnish
  • snipped basil, for garnish
  1. Put 3 tablespoons olive oil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat, then add the onion, and season generously with salt. Add pepper to taste, and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the rice and cook the onions, stirring, until the onions are barely brown, about 2 minutes.
  3. Add red-pepper flakes, garlic, white wine and diced tomatoes, and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes more.
  4. Add 2 cups boiling water or stock and adjust the heat to a brisk simmer. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes, stirring well with a wooden spoon every minute or so.
  5. When the liquid is absorbed, add remaining 1 cup water or stock and continue to cook for another 5 minutes, until the rice is cooked, but the grains are still firm. (I added an additional cup of stock.)
  6. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding another splash of water if necessary to loosen the mixture.
  7. Turn off the heat, stir in the grated cheese and 2 more tablespoons olive oil. (I omitted the additional oil.)
  8. Transfer to a low, wide serving bowl. Surround the rice with tomato slices and season them with salt and pepper.
  9. Sprinkle with parsley and basil. Pass more grated cheese at the table, as desired.

Chicken & Rice Soup with Garlicky Chile Oil

Enough sweet treats! Now I am going to start sharing several comfort food dishes.

I could eat soup every night in cold weather. The starches released by cooking the rice in the stock thickened the base of this dish. The resulting soup tasted hearty and rich.

This recipe was adapted from Bon Appétit, contributed by Kat Boytsova. I modified the proportions, replaced most of the water with stock, and used olive oil, Italian carnaroli rice, and added parmesan rind.

The garlicky chile oil topping, which I doubled (it was recommended to have leftovers!), made this wonderful soup extra special. We ate it with a sourdough baguette and green salad.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

  • 1 medium to large yellow onion
  • 6 garlic cloves (I used 12 cloves to double the oil)
  • 2/3 cup white rice, preferably short grain such as Arborio or medium grain such as Carnaroli
  • 6 T olive oil or vegetable oil (I used 10 T to double the oil)
  • 1-2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (I used 1 tsp in my double batch)
  • 6 cups poultry stock (I used 4 cups homemade turkey stock & 2 cups chicken stock)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 to 1 1/2 lbs skinless, boneless chicken thighs
  • 3 tsp kosher salt, divided
  • parmesan rind, optional
  • 1 large bunch Tuscan kale (I used 10oz bag of chopped Tuscan kale)
  • freshly squeezed juice from 1 lemon
  • dill sprigs, for garnish
  • freshly ground black pepper
  1. To Prep Ingredients: Peel and finely chop 1 onion. Peel and thinly slice the garlic cloves. Rinse rice in a fine-mesh sieve until water runs clear.
  2. To Make the Garlic-Chile Oil: (I made a double batch.) Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium. Add garlic and cook, swirling pan often, until golden brown, 3–5 minutes; the garlic will continue to cook and darken slightly after it’s off the heat, so be conservative here. Transfer to a small heatproof bowl, leaving 1 T garlic oil in pot. Stir the crushed red pepper flakes into garlic oil in bowl; set aside.
  3. To Make the Soup: Add the chopped onion to the 1 T of garlic oil that remains in the in saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent and beginning to take on some color, about 5 minutes.
  4. Pour in stock and water and stir to combine.
  5. Stir in rice, chicken thighs, 1 tsp salt, and parmesan rind, if using. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and bring to a gentle simmer. Simmer, uncovered, until chicken is cooked through, about 10 to 20 minutes, or until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
  6. Using tongs, transfer chicken to a plate and let sit until cool enough to handle. Shred meat with two forks. Continue to simmer soup while you’re prepping the rest of your ingredients (this will concentrate the flavor of the broth).
  7. Strip kale leaves off of thick center ribs, discarding ribs. Rinse kale thoroughly in cold water, shake off excess water, then thinly slice leaves crosswise.
  8. Add kale and shredded chicken to pot. Continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until kale is bright green and chicken is warmed through, about 4 minutes.
  9. Remove pot from heat. Squeeze in lemon juice (being careful not to let any seeds fall in), season with 1 to 2 tsp salt, or more to taste, and stir to combine.
  10. Divide soup among bowls. Drizzle with reserved garlic-chile oil. Garnish with dill sprigs and a few grinds of black pepper.

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