Vegetables & Basil Pesto Risotto

I made this recipe for a potluck party recently, it is made of simple ingredients which will be easily available in your pantry. As a thumb rule this recipe has to cook on low heat through-out and it actually took me an hour and half to do all preparations and cooking time. So, it is a long process, but I feel it is worth it.

You can complete your Italian menu for a party with this rice dish and serve it with veggie lasagna, pasta salad or any pasta dish, Caesar salad (without anchovy paste), minestrone soup, garlic bread, pizza or calzones, and/or with classic tiramisu cake/triffle. So any combinations from above can make your dinner party shine.

Here is the recipe:


2 cups of Arborio Rice

6 cups of vegetable broth (Add water if you run out of vegetable broth)

1/4 cup of cooking wine (any brand)

1 and 1/2 cups of finely chopped vegetables (carrots, bell peppers, defrosted peas, and mushrooms)

(Note: Other optional veggies are zucchini, yellow squash, asparagus, french beans, pearl onions, artichokes, spinach)

2 cloves of garlic (finely chopped)

1/2 onion medium size (finely chopped)

2 tablespoons of basil pesto

3 tablespoons of chopped parsley + 1 tablespoons for garnish

1 tablespoon of lemon juice (fresh)

2 tablespoons of butter + 1 tablespoons for finishing the risotto in the end

2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cups of Parmesan cheese (good quality, don’t use processed one like Kraft)

Salt and pepper (according to taste)


1. Take a pan and add olive oil and butter. Keep the heat on low.

2. Add onions and garlic and saute them until slightly golden brown.

3. Add vegetables and cook them for 2-3 more minutes. Add salt and pepper little by little.

4. Now add arborio rice and toast it for few minutes.

5. Add cooking wine and vegetable broth (1 cup at a time, cover the lid, and again add 1 cup of liquid).

This step will ensure that arborio rice will develop starch and the risotto will be creamier. Add salt and pepper little by little.

6. Keep adding liquid (use vegetable broth, if you run out then use water) and cook the rice on low thoroughly. Check if the rice has cooked well or not. If not add more liquid. Don’t rush this process, as it is the most important one.

7. Add finish up the risotto with basil pesto, lemon juice, Parmesan cheese, peas, parsley, and butter. Check salt and pepper and add if needed.

Note: You can add 2 tablespoons of mascarpone cheese or cream cheese if you want to make it creamy. 

8. Garnish it with parsley and Parmesan cheese. Serve hot/warm.

Ingredients Sautee Veggies in butter + EVOO Arborio Rice Cooking Wine Vegetable Broth Add peas, parsley, and basil pesto in the end IMG_9611 Garnish Serve


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