Do you want a fresh and fragrant dish perfect for dinner? Then the vegan pesto risotto is a classic recipe, the one you were looking for! Pesto, the cornerstone of Ligurian cuisine (Italy), is a very versatile and always very popular sauce that can be used to make excellent first courses.
The vivid green colored sauce releases all the goodness and freshness contained in the basil leaves, creating a creamy dressing that enhances the good flavors and colors of Mediterranean cuisine. Don’t miss the pesto recipe as well as other recipes made with the green sauce such as the pesto gnocchi and the pasta with pesto.
Risotto with pesto is one of those very simple dishes that know how to pamper. Moreover, the recipe is so easy to prepare that made me doubt to either publish it or not. But then I thought that this pesto risotto recipe might be helpful for those who are only stepping into the cooking world and wouldn’t mind some guidance. Therefore, here it is 🙂
Ingredients for pesto risotto
Considering the fact that we’re cooking a vegan dish, I decided to exclude some ingredients that are a must for the traditional risotto recipe. Classic risotto is made with butter and parmesan, but for this recipe, I excluded the parmesan and have substituted butter with olive oil. I promise the result is astonishing, even in the dairy-free version. Thank God I could keep the wine, can’t imagine risotto without the subtle flavor of a nice dry white wine.
Here is the list of the necessary ingredients to make an incredibly luscious pesto risotto:
- Rice. Starchy short-grain rice such as Arborio is one of the best options when cooking risotto. This type of rice has a high starch consistency, which is perfect to get that creamy texture. Also, if you’re wondering to either wash/rinse the rice or not, the answer is absolutely not. When you rinse the rice with water, you wash off its starch, as a result, you risk losing the creaminess.
- Pesto. You can buy the pesto. If you have the time and the needed ingredients you can prepare the pesto at home. Just gather the needed ingredients in a blender bowl and mix them well until you get a creamy texture. See the full pesto recipe here.
- Dry white wine. Some cooks say that you should use one small glass of wine for risotto then empty the rest of it when dining. The idea is to use good quality wine, not some bitter sharp expired wine that you feel sorry throwing away. Good quality wine will only enhance the flavors of the dish.
- Vegetable broth
- One yellow onion
- Olive oil, 2 tbsp
How to cook the risotto with pesto?
Feel and finely chop the onion. Drizzle the extra virgin olive oil in a pan and add the chopped onion, let it sautee until translucent, about 2 minutes. Now add 1 cup of the rice and mix. Toast the rice over a high flame for about 1 minute then deglaze it with 1/2 cup of dry white wine. Let the rice soak in the wine over medium heat. It is now when the rice will absorb the wine floral & fruity flavors, as well as soak in a bit of acidity needed to balance out its natural richness.
Now that the alcohol has evaporated, pour in 1/2 cup of vegetable broth and stir. As soon as the liquid has been soaked in, pour another half a cup of broth. Stir often and add more liquid as the rice absorbs it.
Halfway through cooking, add the pesto, mix it with the rice, and season with salt and pepper. Continue adding the vegetable broth until the risotto is cooked to the “al dente”. Your pesto risotto is ready. It is time to enjoy it next to a nice chill glass of white dry wine.
Tip: if you don’t mind eating cheese, add a bit to enrich the taste and add even more creaminess. When the rice is cooked, turn off the heat and add the Philadelphia cream cheese. Mix well to make the risotto nice and creamy.
How to serve the vegan pesto risotto?
Serve the delicious pesto risotto as soon as it is ready. It perfectly pairs with a cherry tomato salad and a load of fresh crispy bread. You can store it in the fridge in an airtight container and reheat it on the second day for another delish lunch or dinner. Enjoy this exquisite Italian recipe of vegan pesto risotto!
Vegan Pesto Risotto with White Wine
- 1 cup rice Arborio
- 8 oz pesto
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- 1/2 cup white wine dry
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground pepper
- Peel and finely chop the onion
- Heat up a pan, drizzle the olive oil and saute the chopped onion until translucent
- Add the rice as is, don't wash off the starch. Mix well
- Pour in the wine, mix, and wait until the rice soaks in all the wine
- Pour in 1/2 cup of vegetable broth and stir
- Stir often and add more liquid as the rice absorbs it
- Halfway through add the pesto and mix well
- Taste and season with a little salt and pepper if necessary
- Continue adding the vegetable broth until the risotto is cooked to the "al dente"
- Serve with pleasure