I’ve been craving risotto for a few weeks now, but have been too lazy to find all the necessary ingredients. Then, on my weekly TJ’s trip, inspiration struck and I decided to make an orzo-based risotto. I began by making the pesto, which requires the following ingredients:
1/4 cup walnuts
1/4 cup pine nuts
5 cups chopped fresh basil
3 large garlic cloves
1 cup EVOO
1 cup Parmesan (no one ever said pesto is healthy…)
salt and pepper to taste
2 tsps cayenne pepper (optional)
I began by processing the nut and garlic in the food processor. I ground them up for only 20 seconds or so before adding the basil, cayenne, salt and pepper. As this was blending, I added the EVOO, bit by bit, until the pesto was completely pureed.
1/2 large white onion, diced
2 large cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup orzo
1/2 cup white wine
2 cups vegetable broth
1 large zucchini, diced
1/2 packet broccolini, cut into small pieces
2 sundried tomato and basil chicken sausages (from Trader Joe’s- use whatever you like, but these go well with the other flavours of the meal)
3 cups salted water
I began by sauteeing up the onion and garlic in a pan, while simultaneously heating up the broth and water. Start heating up these two about ten minutes into sauteeing, so the timing is good.
Once the wine was cooked off, I began the process that makes this a risotto as opposed to a pasta. I started by adding one cup of the broth (suggestion: DON’T use TJ’s low-sodium vegetable broth- it gives things a weirdly sweet, raisiny taste) and stirred the mixture until it had been absorbed.
I then left the orzo on a low heat, and covered it to keep warm while I made the veggies and chicken for the risotto. I placed the zucchini and broccolini in the pan with the small amount of remaining broth to flavour them, as well as 3 tbsps of pesto, thyme and cayenne.
Once the veggies were cooked, I added them to the risotto, and sliced up two chicken sausages on high heat in a pan, and added that as well. I also added about 1/3 of a cup of the pesto, and swirled it in.
Once the risotto was done, I plated it up, drizzled EVOO over the top and topped the whole thing with some parmesan shavings. A much simpler version of risotto that still delivers delicious results, perfect for a weeknight meal!