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Easy Pesto Risotto

Easy & delicious risotto recipe for pesto risotto. Plus a recipe for fresh homemade pesto! This amazing dish takes just minutes to make and tastes gourmet. :: DontWastetheCrumbs.com

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Easy and delicious risotto recipe for pesto risotto. This amazing dish takes just minutes to make and tastes gourmet.


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped (optional)
  • 2 cups Arborio rice
  • 68 cups chicken stock
  • 1/41/2 cup prepared pesto (see recipe below)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese*
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Homemade Pesto Ingredients

  • 2 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil


  1. Make the homemade pesto by combining the first four ingredients in a food processor until they have made a rough paste. With the machine running, slowly add the oil. Salt and pepper to taste. If the sauce seems dry (it should be a thick paste), add a bit more oil.
  2. In a large heavy saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of butter on low.
  3. Add onion and cook until soft and translucent.
  4. Raise heat to medium and add rice, stirring** until the rice looks chalky and you can see a white dot in the center of the grains (3-5 minutes).
  5. Stir** in one cup of chicken stock. When the stock is absorbed, stir** in another cup. Repeat this for the third cup of stock as well.
  6. Begin adding the stock 1/2 cup at a time, along with 1 tablespoon of pesto. Stir** continuously until the stock is absorbed. Keep repeating this process and start tasting the risotto. The rice should be tender yet slightly firm to the bite – taking care to not overcook the rice. Adjust more or less pesto with each tasting, to your preferences.
  7. Remove the risotto from the heat when it is almost, but not quite done.
  8. Fold in 1 tablespoon of butter, then gently fold in the Parmesan cheese.
  9. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  10. Enjoy this pesto risotto!


* Real Parmesan cheese is required. If you do not have real Parmesan (whether already shredded or in a wedge), them simply omit. If the price of Parmesan is offensive (approximately $4 for a wedge at Target), I assure you that not only is it worth the investment, but a little bit goes a long way. One wedge of Parmesan lasts us a couple months, and this includes recipes and snacking. Whatever you decide, please do not use the powdered parmesan cheese that comes in a green canister, often found in the spaghetti isle.

** Most recipes say to stir using long strokes. I always stir making small circles all over the pan. I can’t say for sure that either method works better than the other, but the key is to stir often, if not continuously.