Arugula and Basil Pesto Risotto with Sauteed Mushrooms! Risotto is the epitome of Italian home cooking and comfort food. Learn to make this simple pesto risotto with sauteed mushrooms, it’s sinful, decadent and very comforting!
Is it possible to get a cold while you’re still getting over another cold? Like my cold is getting a cold! Just wondering because I feel that just as I thought I was getting over my cold, here I go again with the sneezing. I mean WTF! Seriously! Do I seem bitter to you?
Anywho, hope you all had a wonderful weekend, even though I still feel like crap I did have a great Sunday. Won’t let a little cold get me down. We went to the Heritage Park Historical Village here in Calgary and had a blast. Trying to enjoy this nice weather we’re having before the snow starts later this week. HA! You think I’m kidding, but I kid you not.
Oh right, we’re here to talk about risotto. You know what? I have never made risotto until a couple months ago when I decided it was about time to see what the big deal is, because as we all know risotto does have a reputation for being fussy, time consuming, and of course for being served at high end restaurants. Well just like any other time I want to learn something I watch a million youtube videos until I know all the ins and outs of whatever it is I’m trying to learn. Let me tell you that what I’ve learned is that making risotto is no big deal.
First let’s talk about this yummy basil and arugula pesto, which is to die for and so simple to make. First of all you don’t need an expensive food processor, I use my magic bullet and I simply dump all the ingredients in there and then just mix.
Pesto is so easy to make, we’re talking lots of basil here, lots of arugula, walnuts, olive oil, garlic and salt and pepper. That’s it. In the end you end up with this green goo, it’s all good.
So now let’s talk risotto. Risotto is basically all about the technique, and while it does have that reputation that I was talking about, it’s also pretty quick to make, I mean it should be done in less than 30 minutes. The only issue with it, is that it does require a fair bit amount of your attention, meaning you kind of have to sit by it and stir and pour, and stir and pour. You get me?
To make things easier for yourself, make sure you have all your ingredients ready before you start, because it’ll all happen pretty quickly. So basically you start with olive oil, some butter and some onion. Actually the base for most risotto is made up of olive oil, onion and celery, but I skipped the celery here because of the pesto. Cook the onion in the butter and olive oil for about 5 minutes just until soft, over medium heat.
Once the onion is soft, add the arborio rice to the pot. Arborio rice is a special rice used for risotto, and it’s an Italian short grain rice. Stir the rice with the onion and cook for 2 minutes, you’ll notice the rice will soak up all that oil.
In the meantime you do want to make sure you bring that chicken broth to a simmer because we need to add hot liquid to the risotto. Now it’s time to add the white wine and stir again.
Let this cook for a few minutes until the rice absorbs almost all the liquid, again making sure to stir occasionally.
Now we just repeat the process. Add a large ladle of the hot chicken broth, stir, cook, let the rice absorb the liquid, then add more broth, and repeat. Add broth. Stir. Let the rice absorb liquid. Repeat.
This whole process should take about 20 minutes until you run out of broth and the rice is cooked through.
When you’re done with all the broth and the rice has absorbed most of the broth, and you have stirred like a good girl/boy, it’s time to add the yummy green pesto to the risotto.
Stir it all together, keep in mind your stove is still on medium. Also now is the time to season with plenty of salt and pepper, make sure you taste. Although the pesto is already seasoned, you might need more salt and pepper, because this recipe does make a lot of risotto.
After a couple more minutes you should be done. Your risotto should be finished and ready for the next phase.
Of course you can just gobble up this risotto as it is, as a nice side dish to some great chicken or whatever you’ve prepared, but I decided it take it a step further and serve it with some sauteed mushrooms. Let’s just say you’ll need a lot of mushrooms. I always get fooled into thinking that I’m using too many mushrooms, but as they cook, they will shrink and you get left with very little mushrooms. So go big!
We’re basically just going to saute these in some olive oil, season them with salt, pepper, some garlic powder and some red chili flakes.
And if you think I was you kidding you, I was not, look how much they shrank. Honey, I shrunk the mushrooms! That’s the next sequel!
All that’s left to do now is eat. My favorite part! So give yourself a generous helping of risotto with a just as generous helping of sauteed mushrooms, sit back, eat and relax. Comfort food, my friends. And it’s meatless. For meatless Monday! HA! Funny how I did that without even thinking.
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Arugula and Basil Pesto Risotto with Sauteed Mushrooms
For Arugula and Basil Pesto
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 cup basil
- 2 cups baby arugula
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup walnuts
- salt and pepper to taste
For the risotto
For the Sauteed Mushrooms
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 cups white mushrooms chopped
- ½ teaspoon red chili flakes
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- salt and pepper to taste
- First make the pesto by combining all of the ingredients together in a food processor or a blender. Puree until the pesto is smooth. Taste for seasoning and adjust with salt and pepper as needed.
- In a big pot add the chicken broth and bring to a simmer.
- In a large Dutch oven or pan, add the olive oil, and butter over medium heat. When the butter has melted and is hot add the onion and stir. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft and translucent.
- Add the risotto to the pan, stir so that the rice is coated in the oil mixture and cook for a couple minutes, until all the oil is absorbed by the rice.
- Stir in the wine, making sure to scrape any bits from the bottom of the pan if necessary. Cook and stir until most of the wine is absorbed by the rice.
- Stir in a ladle of broth at a time, cook until most of the broth is absorbed by the rice, and repeat by adding a ladle of broth at a time. The whole process should take about 20 minutes until you run out of broth and the rice should be cooked through.
- After about 20 minutes of this continuous process, add the pesto to the pan, stir and season with salt and pepper as needed. Set aside.
- Time to make the mushrooms. In a pan heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and all the seasoning. Saute for about 5 minutes or until mushrooms are nice and brown to your liking, stirring occasionally.
- To serve spoon risotto into serving bowl or plates and top with sauteed mushrooms. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese if desired.