Thursday, 20 October 2011

Leek, Mushroom & Basil Pesto Risotto

This dish is real comfort food and always a real hit in our house. It's a nice mid week meal or something quick and easy for the weekend to enjoy with a glass of white wine! You could add some pan fried chicken to this dish if you fancy a meat hit but I like it just as it is! The basil pesto below makes about a cup so why not use it in sambos during the week or have a nice grilled vegetable salad with some pesto! Pesto is so versatile and also addictive! Why not have it on some crackers with cheese - YUM!!

Prep: 10 mins Cook: 20-30 mins Serves: 2 for main meal or 4 starter portions

25g butter
1 tbsp olive oil
leeks (white and pale green parts only), chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 onion, finely chopped
100g chestnut mushrooms, sliced,
1 tbsp fresh tarragon, chopped or 1 tsp dried tarragon
2 heaped tsp basil pesto plus a little extra for serving- see below
150g risotto rice, if you don't have enough risotto rice you could use basmati or jasmine rice
450ml hot chicken or vegetable stock
2 tbsp grated parmesan
salt & pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil and butter in a saucepan over a medium heat.

Add the leeks and cook for 3-4mins to soften. Then add the onions, garlic, tarragon and mushrooms and cook for another 4-5minutes.

Add the rice and pesto and stir well to evenly coat the mixture.

Begin to pour in the stock, 1/4 at a time, each time allowing the rice to absorb the liquid before adding more. When all the liquid is absorbed, sprinkle in the parmesan cheese and stir. Taste and season with salt and pepper as required.

To serve, spoon into a nice bowl, garnish with a few little dots of pesto on top and an extra sprinkle of parmesan cheese!

Basil Pesto:
50g pine nuts, toasted
375g basil leaves
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
75g parmesan cheese, grated
5 tbsp olive oil

Preheat the oven to 180C. Spread the pine nuts on a baking tray and bake for 4-5minutes until lightly toasted.

Wash the basil leaves just in cold water and pat them dry carefully with kitchen paper.

Place all the ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend into a smooth paste. Thats it done!

This pesto will last in the fridge for about a week but if you want to make some and freeze it, just leave out the cheese (cheese doesn't freeze well!) and you can freeze for up to 6months.

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