Monday, August 3, 2009

I made Arborio Rice with Spinach-Basil Pesto and Peas!

So here I go with another "lazy risotto". Ain't no shame in it!

This is another dish I cooked up on a sleepy weeknight when I also really did not have too much food in the house. But this just proves that you can cook up something fast and tasty with what you got around.

First, I made a spinach-basil pesto. I used:

-Equal proportions spinach + basil (I used about 1/2 a bag of baby spinach and some basil leaves from my sad little basil plant*
-Some walnuts
-1 or 2 cloves garlic
-juice of 1 lemon
-olive oil

*Since I did not have enough fresh basil, I supplemented my pesto with some jarred pesto from Trader Joe's, which I like to keep on hand for moments just like this! Again, ain't no shame in it. I used the hand blender! (Sarah's fave technique.)

Then I cooked up some arborio rice in the same fashion as my lazy risotto. While that cooked, I looked around my kitchen for other elements to add to the dish. I came up with some frozen peas and Parmesan cheese and decided that they would go nicely with the pesto.

I sauteed the peas in a pan for just a few minutes to thaw them and get the moisture out. If you have fresh peas, even better, but frozen will do the job admirably. Just make sure not to throw them in the pot with the rice as it cooks - even though this will defrost and cook them, by the time the rice is done, they'll be overcooked and mushy. Mushy peas are not cool. I know they are a popular thing in England, but I don't get it.

Once your rice is done and has a nice chew to it, (about 12 minutes, maybe), take it off the heat and stir in the peas, some grated parm and the pesto - add gradually to your liking. Top with some more Parmesan cheese. (Also delicious I bet: ricotta or goat cheese.)

The peas add a nice sweetness to the rice and all the salty pesto and cheese. Fresh tomatoes would be tasty as well, although they would alter the all-green theme of the dish.

This dish was a tasty and satisfying light dinner. I think it would also make a great side dish paired with fish or shrimp or even just a really good salad. I brought the leftovers to work for lunch the next day and was very happy.


  1. ooooooooh! i might make this! i was JUST in a risotto-y mood.

  2. Yeah, go for it Diana!! It's a good summer-y meal...