Updated: Feb 2
This dish feels like summer - the flavours are fresh and the colour is such a vibrant green. Yet because it's risotto it also feels comforting. Just make sure to loosen it up if it needs it at the end - risotto at its best is lovely and creamy.
1 tbs coconut or avocado oil
1 onion, finely chopped
150g arborio rice
1 litre vegetable stock
200g asparagus, woody ends snapped off and sliced in half lengthways
2 courgettes, sliced lengthways into 4 strips
Zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tbs basil
1 tbs olive oil
Handful of spinach
3 heaped tbs green pesto
2 tbs flaked almonds or pine nuts, toasted
15g brazil nuts
5 tbs olive oil
1 garlic clove
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Salt & pepper
Method for Pesto Risotto with Griddled Lemon Vegetables
Start by preparing the pesto. Put all of the ingredients in a blender and blitz until smooth.
Pour the cooking oil into a large pan over a medium-low heat. Cook the onion in it for 5-6 minutes, or until soft and translucent. Add the rice and cook for a further 2 minutes.
Add a ladle of stock to the pan and let the mixture simmer on a low heat. Once the liquid has reduced, add another ladle and continue to do this until all the liquid is soaked up by the rice.
After approx. 20 minutes, or when you have only 1-2 ladles left of stock, begin to cook the vegetables. Put a pan on a high heat and fry the vegetables for 4-5 minutes until they become tender and they have coloured. Add the lemon juice to the pan and then take off the heat. Stir through the lemon zest, fresh basil and olive oil.
When you have used up the stock, stir the spinach and pesto into the rice. Add a little water if the mixture feels dense – it should be loose and creamy.
Serve the risotto immediately with the griddled vegetables and a sprinkle of toasted almonds or pine nuts on top.
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