Sunday, August 12, 2007

Pesto risotto

I had few older herbs and vegetables laying around the fridge, threatening to turn bad on me, so I whipped this up for dinner. Start by filling a medium sized pot with water and bring that to a boil. Grab a bunch of basil, parsley, and some spinach (I used frozen spinach), and blanch it. You can do this either by dropping everything in the boiling water and fishing it out with strainer a few seconds later, or you could put everything in a bowl and ladle some of the water over it, pour out the water and add a bit of cold water to stop the cooking. I think the second method is a bit more tidy. Blanching helps set the color and it makes the resulting puree a little more green. While you bring the water to a boil, you can toast a few pine nuts if you have them. I would guess that about 1 - 1.5 Tbsp would be sufficient for two servings. Throw these in with the herbs, add a little olive oil to the mixture and puree with an immersion blender, a mini food processor, or a blender. Reserve the puree for later use.

To get the risotto started, finely mince a couple cloves of garlic (1 -1.5 per serving depending on your preference for garlic) and add it to a pan with 2 tsp olive oil and .5 Tbsp butter over medium heat. Add 1 cup arborio rice for 2 large servings and cook for another minute. After a minute or so, begin adding the boiling water one scoop at a time. Stir and add more water when the rice has absorbed almost all of the liquid. You should do this over a low heat. While this is cooking, chop up some asparagus into 1" lengths and partially cook them in the same water that you are adding to the risotto. This should not take long. Remove, shock with cold water, and set aside. Once the risotto is almost done, stir in the puree and the asparagus. Add salt and pepper to taste.

I served this with haddock fillet, but it's probably best on its own. I didn't think the fish was a particularly good match, but that could just be due to the fact that I didn't get a very good cut of fish.

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