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Author Notes: Riso is a rice-shaped Italian pasta that makes an interesting change from risotto on the one hand and traditional pastas on the other. You can add virtually any meats or vegetables to it, but this recipe is one I particularly like. It evolved over time. —Federico_
- 2 cups Free Range Chicken broth
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 cup diced sweet onion
- 1 cup riso (De Cecco is best, I think)
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1/2 red pepper, cubed
- 1/2 yellow pepper, cubed
- 1/2 cup sliced crimini mushrooms
- 1/3 cup freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese
- 2 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped
- 2 medium garlic cloves
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 ounces pine nuts
- 1 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 2 tablespoons plus parmigiano cheese for serving
- For the riso: Add one cup of lightly salted water to chicken broth and bring to a simmer in a small saucepan. Over medium heat in a 10 inch skillet, heat 2 TS olive oil and saute onion until translucent. Add riso and saute until light brown, about two minutes. Add wine and continue sauteing until evaporated.
- Add broth and water mix 1/2 cup at a time to the riso, stirring constantly (as in risotto) until liquid is absorbed. If you run out of liquid, simmer some additional water until riso is soft and creamy. Total cooking and stirring time is about 20 minutes. Set aside.
- In another medium skillet, heat remaining 2TS olive oil and add peppers stirring until softened and lightly charred. Add mushrooms and continue stirring until softened.
- For the pesto: In a blender or food processor, mix the basil, garlic, salt, pine nuts, parmigiano cheese and 1/2 cup of olive oil at medium speed. Blend until the pesto has a grainy texture--do not puree completely, because a good pesto has a very distinctive texture, neither too mushy or too thick. Spoon mixture into a sealable container, add the remaining olive oil and blend until absorbed. Set aside two tablespoons in a small dish and cover the remaining pesto with a few drops of olive oil. Seal tightly and store in refrigerator for a later use. Pesto will keep for up to two weeks.
- Stir Mushroom, peppers, and the two tablespoons of pesto into the riso and add the parmegiano cheese and stir until melted until creamy and well mixed. Serve immediately.