I know. You’re probably experiencing a similar reaction to what I experienced the first time Emily told me that risotto (made in a microwave) is a staple in her dinner rotation – a little excited, and a little skeptical. Risotto scares me, but throwing a microwave into the mix takes away the intimidation factor and adds some intrigue. But here’s the thing. I trust Emily’s taste because she’s an incredible cook and gives me lots of inspiration both in and outside the kitchen. And then, when I saw the finished product, I realized she just might be onto something and that it would be selfish of me to keep the secret to myself. So here she is!
Let me just say one thing first. This “guest post” has been a long time coming. I’ve been promising to make an appearance on Beth’s Journey for what could be 100 years (full disclosure – it is more like 6 months). The jury is still out on whether or not I am a qualified guest (full disclosure – I got called for jury duty last week and sat on a trial).
A quick introduction: My name is Emily. I grew up in rural Ohio (Yes, I know Amish people. No I am not Amish. Yes I owned goats.) I played Division-I soccer in college. I was a Peace Corps volunteer in Ukraine. I’ve lived in DC for 2 years. I have a great husband. I met Beth at work almost 2 years ago, and we’ve been pals ever since.
So, now that you know me, lets get down to brass tacks, as they say. I have a little treat for you. Here is a hint. It involves risotto. And a microwave. Yes, you read that right. Risotto in a microwave. If we are being 100% honest here, I grew up in a house without a microwave and I’m not going to lie – microwaves used to scare me a bit. I also grew up in a house with a mother who was/is an incredible cook. The New Basics cookbook was a staple in our house. I think my mom’s copy is currently in 3 pieces. I now own my own well-loved copy, which is where I came across this gem. The important thing to note here is the technique. The ingredients can be interchanged. Risotto is a frightening beast, and I have conquered it. With the help of a modern appliance and some tasty ingredients.
Without further adieu:
Pesto & Walnut Risotto
- 2 cups basil, washed and thoroughly dried
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- Salt + Pepper to taste
*Yes, a lot of pesto includes parmesan cheese and nuts of some sort. But, because both of these ingredients will be added to the risotto later, they are omitted in this mix.
Place the basil and minced garlic in a food processor. As you pulse, slowly pour the olive oil into the mix. Process to desired consistency. (I prefer it chunkier). Done.
Now, to the main event:
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2/3 cup onion, diced (not pictured – oops)
- 1 cup Aborio rice
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 1/3 cup white wine
- 1/2 cup water
- 3 tablespoons pesto (I used a little more)
- 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
- Salt + Pepper to taste
- A microwave (I know, you still can’t get over it)
- A microwave safe casserole dish (I use the bowl below. Ignore my face.)
The work: (All cook times are with full power)
- Heat the oil in the casserole dish on for 1 minute.
- Stir in the onion and cook for 1 minute.
- Stir in the rice (make sure it is all coated!) and cook for 1 minute
- Add 2 cups of the stock, the water, and the wine to the mixture. Stir once.
- Cook the mixture for 12 minutes. Sit down! Have some wine! Read bethsjourney.com!
- Add the remaining 1 cup of stock and the pesto. Stir once.
- Cook for 8 minutes. Do whatever.
- Check the mixture – depending on the microwave and your personal preference, it might be done. The “proper” way to serve risotto is al dente, but I like it cooked a touch more. Do what you feel.
- Stir in the walnuts and the parmesan cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste.
The final product:
I leave you with one final tip. To get the risotto to keep this shape I used a small tupperware container – scoop the mixture into the container, scraping any excess off the top. Invert a plate over the container and flip. Boo ya. That is some sexy presentation. In the past, I’ve also used a measuring cup. It also works with mashed potatoes and will make your family believe you have Emeril-esque skills in the kitchen. Everybody wins.
Beth’s Note: This recipe, if divided into 4 servings, has 10 pts+ a serving.
What are your thoughts on cooking in the microwave? Yay or nay? What types of things do you typically use it for?