chicken pesto risotto with portobellos


It’s been awhile since I’ve posted a risotto recipe (or for that matter – anything!). This one actually happened “by accident” when I was planning to make some chicken pesto with spaghetti for my friend and she informed me she’d had a rather pasta-heavy week. So I improvised and used the same ingredients in this risotto. It was really good!

Ingredients and instructions below…

  • 3 tbsps olive oil, divided
  • 6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 small onion (or two shallots), diced
  • 2 boneless chicken breasts (approx 400grams)
  • 250 grams portobello mushrooms, sliced
  • 150 grams lightly steamed broccoli florets
  • 2 cups (370 grams) aborio rice
  • 1/2 cup (250 ml) dry white wine
  • 6 -7 cups hot chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 150 grams pesto sauce
  • coarse sea salt to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp ground chilis (optional)

Heat chicken stock, bring to a boil and then lower heat and simmer. Meanwhile rub chicken breasts with sea salt, then cut up into bit-sized chunks and sauté in about a tbsp of olive oil until cooked through; set aside. Next, in the same frying pan, cook the sliced portobellos until tender and put to one side. Steam the broccoli florets.

In a large skillet, sauté the garlic and onion in the remaining 2 tbsp of olive oil until translucent, then add the rice and stir quickly until it is well-coated and opaque, about 1 minute. This cooks the starchy coating and prevents the grains from sticking. Then stir in the wine and continue stirring until it is nearly all evaporated.

Now comes the part that requires some patience. Add the chicken 1/2 cup at a time, slowly stirring on a med-low heat and making sure the rice doesn’t stick to the sides of the pan. Continue to cook and stir, allowing the rice to absorb each addition of broth until the risotto is slightly firm and creamy, or al dente. This takes about 20 minutes.

When the rice is done add the pesto sauce, butter, grated parmesan, black pepper and chilis and mix well. Then add the cooked chicken, portobellos and broccoli. Stir and serve.

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