Pasta Risotto & You

By Nancy Caivano


Risotto with Mushroom Pesto

Serves 6


6 tbsp olive oil, divided
5 oz white mushrooms, finely chopped
   (a food processor makes this easy)
6 oz Portobello mushrooms, finely chopped
   (both caps and stems)
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp tomato paste
Salt and pepper
4 cloves garlic, mashed
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup packed parsley leaves,
   washed well and dried
1 onion, chopped
1 shallot, chopped
5 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
2 cups arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
4 cups simmering chicken stock
3 tbsp butter
1/2 cup grated pecorino Romano cheese (or Parmesan)
1 tbsp thyme, finely chopped
2 tbsp basil, julienne


Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add mushrooms and vinegar and cook until all liquid is evaporated and mushrooms become golden brown, about 10 minutes. Add tomato paste, stirring well. Season with salt and pepper, and remove from heat.

In a food processor purée mushroom mixture with garlic, pine nuts, Parmesan and 3 tbsp olive oil. Add parsley and blend until parsley is finely chopped, but mixture is NOT a paste.

In a large saucepan, heat 2 tbsp olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic and tomatoes. Cook until onion is translucent. Add rice, stirring constantly, and cook 5 minutes more, making sure rice does not brown. Add wine, stirring constantly, and let totally evaporate. When wine is evaporated, begin adding stock 1/2 cup at a time, letting each addition evaporate before adding the next addition.

After fourth addition of stock is added, begin tasting rice. Rice should be al dente when done. You need to keep tasting rice, because, depending on rice, you may or may not have to use all of the stock.

After last addition of stock is absorbed, remove from heat, and stir in butter, Romano, mushroom pesto, thyme, and basil. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

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This page created February 1999