Monday, August 27, 2012

Risotto with Sun Dried Tomatoes and Pesto

As I have mentioned previously we had the most wonderful birthday dinner for my mom this year.  For each family member's birthday we typically "celebrate" the Sunday closest to their actual birthday.  The birthday celebrant gets to pick the menu, open presents and pretty much get whatever he or she would like....within reason of course!

This year part our "extended family" got involved to celebrate Mom's birthday and when you get these two families together it is going to be nothing short of fantastic!  Mom requested we all submit recipes we had never tried before from which she would decide the menu.  With a million cooks in the kitchen we all added our little bit to a meal that in the end was truly epic.

Part of that meal was this side.  It grabbed my attention the second I saw it and apparently did the same for mom because it was one of the sides she chose.  Dad did the cooking, I did the supervising, and everyone else did all the laughing!

This will certainly be in the rotation of summer favorites as it combines all those wonderfully fresh ingredients so abundant this time of year!

Roasted Red Pepper & Pesto Risotto

5 cups fat-free reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 shallot, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
2 ounces goat cheese
1 cup grated Asiago cheese
1 (12 ounce) jar roasted red peppers, diced
1/2 cup basil pesto
2 ounces fresh baby spinach
Bring broth to a boil in medium saucepan. Reduce heat to low; cover saucepan.

Heat olive oil in a wide medium saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots; cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in rice, and cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently. 
Add 1 1/2 cups warm broth. 
Boil gently until broth is absorbed, stirring frequently. Add another 1 cup broth; stir until broth is absorbed. Add remaining 2 1/2 cups broth, 1/2 cup at a time, allowing broth to be absorbed before adding more and stirring frequently until rice is tender and creamy, about 25 minutes. Add goat cheese, asiago cheese, roasted red pepper, and pesto, stirring until the cheese is completely melted. 
Toss in spinach and stir until fully combined and wilted. Transfer to bowl to serve.
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