Risotto Bianco con pesto (p.132)
Jamie Oliver, without a doubt, is my favourite celebrity chef for one-million-and-one reasons. Most importantly, and most recently, he has turned my husband into my favourite “real-life” chef through his brilliant iPhone app 20 Minute Meals (if you have an iPhone or an iPad, I highly recommend this). I have been watching Jamie on TV since he was a wee Naked Chef and he influenced me to start experimenting in the kitchen at a fairly young age. My friend Lisa and I even had the honest pleasure of meeting Jamie last year when he was in Toronto. He comes across as an all around top-notch kind of person who aims to teach everyone a little something about eating fresh, home-made food and about taking care of one another.
So with that in mind, and the fact that his cookbooks are beautiful, I gladly took the challenge of cooking something out of Jamie’s Italy this week. I chose Risotto Bianco con pesto (p.132). Overall, the recipe was simple though time consuming (which everyone already expects with Risotto). First things first, I poured myself a glass of wine. Next, I began chopping my onion and celery. While the veggies were cooking over a low heat I made the pesto (oh wait, no I didn’t). Instead I opened the jar of ready-made pesto because I couldn’t find an ingredient as simple as pine nuts in my local grocery store!!). After adding the risotto to the pan, letting it lightly fry for a few minutes, I added the wine. The smell was UNBELIEVABLE. I stirred the risotto while adding ladles of broth continuously for about a half hour and, of course, Mr. Murphy was there to show his support…
I tasted for seasoning a few times and when the risotto was final cooked I took the pan off the heat and added butter and parmesan cheese. After scooping some risotto into the bowls, I topped each with a dollop of pesto (which was surprisingly good) and sprinkled some fresh basil leaves on top. After one bit my husband said, “This is the best thing I have ever tasted, it has a harmony of flavours and the texture is perfect.” And to that I said, “shot gun: not doing the dishes.”
This was a great recipe that was easy to follow with fantastic results. I do regret not shopping around for pine nuts earlier but I will be making this recipe again with home-made pesto next time. NOTES: the reason the risotto did not turn out as white as Jamie’s photos is simply because I used a vegetable broth with tomato paste in it.