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Author Notes: In making this dish I used a Smoking Gun to smoke the avocados. Smoking imbues the avocado with a wonderful, deep, rich undertone of flavour and it helps lift this risotto to a sublime level. If you don’t have the means to smoke your avocado, don’t worry – the recipe also works well (but not quite as well) with plain avocado —Selmazebra
Serves 2, generously
for the pesto
- large handfuls fresh basil leaves
- 1 ounce grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon pine nuts
- 100 milliliters extra virgin olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, chopped
for the risotto
- 2 ripe avocados
- 1 buffalo mozarella
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 onion, fiely chopped
- 2 1/2 ounces freshly shelled peas (use frozen if fresh not available)
- 7 ounces arborio or other risotto rice
- 1 splash white wine (about half standard wine glass)
- 1 liter vegetable stock
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- Make a pesto sauce by blitzing the basil, garlic, pesto, olive oil and Parmesan in a blender.
- Halve, peel and stone the avocado. Cut each half once lengthways and then cut each quarter crossways into three. If you are smoking the avocado, place the avocado pieces into a ziplock bag, blow hickory smoke into the bag and then seal the ziplock for 2 minutes, giving the avocado a very gentle shake to ensure it smokes evenly.
- Bring the stock to a boil then reduce to a low simmer.
- Heat the 2 tbsp olive oil in a large pan over a medium heat. Add and gently fry the onions for 4-5 minutes until soft. Tip the rice into the pan and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring well to ensure all the grains of rice have contact with the oil.
- Turn up the heat and pour in the wine, stirring to deglaze. Add the salt and a ladle of stock and reduce the heat back to medium. Keep stirring, adding a ladleful of stock whenever the rice starts to look dry. After 15 minutes add the peas.
- Cook for a further 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Test the rice to see if it is cooked. When ready it should be “al dente”. If it isn’t ready, continue adding stock and stirring as before. You may not need to add all the stock.
- Remove from the heat, add 2 tablespoons of the pesto (the rest will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days), the avocado and the mozzarella. Stir gently but thoroughly to combine all of the ingredients. Serve immediately.