Pea Risotto with Basil Pesto

pea risotto with basil pesto

To our great big #RoyalFamily,

The rain has been pouring down here in the Cape but I’m not complaining – we need this rain desperately, here and all over the country – and I love the excuse it gives me to cosy-up inside with a good book and some of my favourite, warming food.

Have you ever cooked risotto? It’s a real comfort food. The aromas, the therapeutic stirring involved and all that oozy, cheesy, deliciousness makes it the perfect dish to cook on a rainy day. Just be ready to eat it as soon as it is done as that is when it is at its best!

Stay warm,
HRH Kathleen

You will need

1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp oil
1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
½ jar Pesto Princess Basil Pesto and a little more to serve
2 cups Arborio rice
½ cup white wine
6 cups vegetable stock
1½ cup frozen peas
1 Tbsp butter (to add near the end of the cooking process)
1 cup Parmesan cheese (or any hard cheese) and more to serve

How to

1. Warm the oil and butter over a medium to high heat before adding the onions and cooking them until soft and translucent. Once the onion is soft, add the pesto and extra garlic and stir through, cooking for a minute or so.

2. Add the Arborio rice and stir it through. Coat every single grain in your buttery pesto mixture. Keep stirring until the edges of the rice become translucent.

3. Pour the white wine into the pan and stir until it has been completely absorbed. The rice should start to become sticky and the pan a bit dry.

4. Add the stock, little by little at this point, stirring continuously between each addition and making sure it is all absorbed before adding more. This should take about 12 minutes in total. When you feel like you are moments away from the risotto being ready, add your peas.

5. The risotto is ready when the rice is al dente and has the consistency of soft porridge. To finish it off, add a knob of butter, a cup of grated Parmesan, a little more stock if you like it less stodgy, and lastly a nice heaped tablespoon or two of basil pesto. Season well.

Serve with freshly grated Parmesan and good glass of wine.

Feeds 4

Recipe and food styling by Michelle Parkin.

Michael Olivier’s Choice

Groot Constantia Sauvignon Blanc 2015

Groot Constantia is the cradle of the wine industry in the Cape. Boela Gerber produces a fine Sauvignon Blanc which brings a breath of summer into winter. Perfect as an aperitif, and great as an accompaniment to this risotto.

It looks like Packed in a Burgundy shaped bottle with the Constantia crest embossed in glass just below the neck. In the glass a pale golden straw.

It smells like Aromatic with granadilla pulp, Canary melon and fynbos herbiage.

It tastes like A wash of tropical fruits with grassy, figgy notes and crisp, crunchy starfruit around the edges. Excellent breadth of palate with a bracing palate-cleansing acidity and a long aftertaste.





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