Risotto with pistacchio pesto and roasted tomatoes

As we came back from our long holiday in Italy, we had lots of time to reflect and think about those marvelous ingredients that, as an italian, you deal with in your daily routine and always take it for granted. In Puglia, we had the honor of tasting one of the best seafoood pastas we have ever had, the priviledge in Naples to have a spectacular pizza and in Rome to experience THE cacio e pepe! In this recipe, i wanted to bring some flavors and smells that reminds me of our recent time in Italy. The risotto, as always, is our favorite dish. I wanted to make a special one this time, incorporating the earthiness of the pistachios and the sweetness of cherry tomatoes all countornoued by oregano directly from an italian region called Basilicata. The pesto can be bought ready to use, or can be made from scratch.


For the homemade pesto:

  • 200g dry and unsalted pisatcchios
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 tasp of EVO oil
  • j.e. Parmiggiano Reggiano

For the sauce

  • 200g of pistachios pesto (homemade or from the can)
  • j.e. Parmiggiano Reggiano

For the risotto

  • 1 cup of riso carnaroli (or arborio)
  • 1 cup of white wine
  • half scallion
  • j.e. salt

For the garnish

  • 50g of dry pistachios
  • 10 cherry tomatoes
  • j.e. dry oregano
  • j.e. EVO oil
  • j.e. Parmiggiano Reggiano

For the homemade pesto:

1. Remove all pistachios from their shells and throw them in a bowl.

2. Add a clove of garlic, EVO oil and as much Parmiggiano as you like!

3. With an hand mixer, keep working on the pesto until it gets homogeneous.

4. add a final touch of salt and mix again.

Start your risotto:

1. Prepare the broth. In a sauce pan, throw half red onion, any vegetable wastes you may have in your fridge, and enough salt and pepper. Add enough water to cover completely, put the lid on and let it boil.

2. Dice half shallot and start cutting your cherry tomaotes in half.

3. It is about time to start your risotto. In a sauce pot, put your EVO oil, and the diced shallot (1/2). Let it soffriggere until the shallot dices get golden and the smell penetrates in your soul and mind.

7. Throw in your carnaroli or arborio rice. Start swirling the rice for 2/3 minutes for a great tostatura. By keep mixing, you make sure the rice does not burn (it’s not a paella!!).

8. Add your cup of white wine and let the alcohol evaporates while swirling the rice. It will take about 2/3 minutes as well.

9. As the alcohol dries up, start adding your boiling broth to the rice and keep mixing like a nice witch with her own magic cauldron!

10. Turn on the oven at 400F. Start lining up your cherry tomatoes on a baking tray. Season them very well with oregano, salt and EVO oil. Then mix them and finally place them in the tray with the inside side facing up.

11. Keep adding broth to the risotto while mixing it. In this partcular risotto we won’t add anything until the end of the cooking since both the pesto as well as the cherry tomatoes go in the rice after being cooked and far from the heat.

12. Normally it will take 16-18 minutes for the rice to cook (depending on the rice you bought). In the last remaining 10 minutes, put the cherry tomatoes in the oven and cook them for about 10 minutes (until the rice is ready to be plated).

13. When the time comes, try a grain of rice and if perfecly al dente, turn off the flame. Now add your pesto, more Parmiggiano Reggiano and EVO oil for the mantecatura. Mix very well so the pesto gets beautifully incorporated in the rice.

14. Plate your risotto. For the final touch add a few cherry tomatoes and break a few dry pistachios on top, and serve it!

Try it!

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