Risotto is Italian comfort food 101, but how about pesto risotto with asparagus and chicken? You can’t get much better than that, especially with homemade pesto.
Spring is officially here! Well for most people… In the past I’ve never really tried to make a recipe based on what was in season. However after reading multiple blogs, I’ve realized it’s cheaper and tastes way better! And with using the seasons to decide what I eat, what better way to throw it all in a risotto, which is a great vehicle for a variety of flavors.
If you’re wondering what makes it a spring dish, asparagus is the culprit! Risotto is just one of those dishes I absolutely love to make and enjoy eating even more! I always am willing to try a new risotto recipe and when browsing Pinterest the other day I saw a pesto risotto with chicken.
I immediately realized I had never actually put pesto in a risotto but I loved how this one turned out. Pesto is one of my go-to ingredients and is in some of my favorites dishes like my one pan chicken and veggies.
Like always, I did put goat cheese in it. To me, goat cheese is an essential ingredient of risotto. Don’t knock it till you try it.
What Ingredients are in this Pesto Risotto Recipe?
- Unsalted butter
- Olive oil
- Produce – shallots, garlic, asparagus
- Arborio rice
- Chicken stock
- Goat cheese and Parmesan cheese
- Rotiserrie chicken
What is the Best Rice for Risotto?
Use only Italian short-grain rice varieties such as Arborio, Carnaroli, Vialone, Nano, and Baldo. In the US, Arobrio rice is the most common you’ll find. Short-grain rice has a high starch content and tends to absorb less liquid which is perfect for spring risotto.
Do You Rinse Arborio Rice for Risotto?
No! If you rinse the rise, you rinse the starch off which is key to creating a quality risotto.
Is Risotto Gluten Free?
Risotto is traditionally made with Arborio rice which has high rice gluten content, but it’s not the same thing as the gluten that would bother you. Because of this, 95% of the time you are safe to consume risotto if you have a gluten allergy.
Where the 5% comes into play is if the broth/stock you use has traces of gluten in it. So just read the ingredients of your stock before using for this pesto risotto.
Pro Tips/Recipe Notes
- Toast/cook the rice in butter/oil so it absorbs the stock slowly without becoming soggy.
- Use hot stock so when you add to the rice it won’t cool everything down and mess up the cooking process.
- Slowly add the stock and wait until it is absorbed before adding more which allows the rice to create that creamy starch you expect from risotto.
- Stir the risotto often enough, but don’t stir so much your arm gets tired. It should be just enough to keep the risotto from burning.
- Keep at a medium simmer throughout cooking, otherwise your risotto with take forever.
- Cook until al dente. Risotto should have some body and bite to it and not be too mushy or starchy.
- Wait until rice is finished cooking before stirring in the rest of the ingredients.
Other Risotto Recipes
If you’ve tried this Pesto Risotto or any other recipe on Chisel & Fork, please let me know how it turned out in the comments below! You can also follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube to see more tasty meals and anything else I’m up to.
Pesto Risotto with Asparagus and Chicken
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 small shallots, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
- 5 cups low-sodium chicken stock
- 5 oz goat cheese
- 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
- 1 cup pesto (store-bought or homemade)
- 1 lb asparagus
- 2 cups shredded chicken from rotisserie chicken
- Heat butter and olive oil in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the diced onion and cook for about 3 minutes, until tender. Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute Add rice and stir to coat, cooking for another minute. Add chicken stock that is simmering 1 cup at a time, stirring the rice constantly and waiting for the stock to be absorbed before adding more.
- While risotto is cooking preheat oven to 400F. Discard tough ends of asparagus and toss with salt, pepper and olive oil. Roast at 400F for 8 minutes. Slice into 1 inch pieces and set aside.
- Once the rice is tender (should be between 20-25 minutes), add the goat cheese, parmesan cheese, pesto, asparagus and shredded chicken. Stir to combine. Taste and if needed add salt and pepper. Serve with some parmesan cheese on top and enjoy!