This risotto with kale pesto and bacon is an example of a much simpler way to make risotto that doesn’t lack in flavor!
A simple risotto is made, but there is no standing around the range tending to it. This risotto goes straight into the oven, giving you the same result as if you have been making it traditionally. A simple kale and herb pesto and bacon is stirred in to impart dramatic flavors. Don’t let risotto scare you! This risotto with kale pesto can easily be your next weeknight dinner recipe!
Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone! If I were thinking ahead of time (which I obviously wasn’t), I think posting this recipe for risotto with kale pesto about a week ago would have been an even better idea. I mean, isn’t this the perfect Valentine’s Day dinner recipe?? I think so! What’s even better, is that it is super simple to make. Oh well, I’m sharing it with you guys now, and I hope you love it as much as we do!
Zach and I love risotto. We make it often, but it took us a long time to perfect it. It’s not that it’s difficult to make. I think it’s a common misconception that it is difficult to make. It just takes time and attention, and it’s very easy to go from underdone to overdone. I think it’s very much a trial and error type of recipe. Once you get it right, it’s like riding a bike, you never forget it.
There are ways around making risotto the traditional way, however. I’ve made baked risotto quite a few times, and this risotto with kale pesto is just one example of a simpler way to make risotto. I’ve made this recipe a million times in the past couple of years, but I have always just made it the traditional way. This time, it’s all about keeping it super simple and having dinner on the table in under an hour.
This risotto with kale pesto and bacon is one delicious dish. Pair it with a brown ale. A brown ale will really compliment the walnuts and bacon. I hope you enjoy and have a wonderful rest of your weekend! xo
- 3/4 cup chopped and toasted walnuts divided
- 1/2 cup olive oil divided
- 1 small yellow onion finely chopped
- 1 1/4 cups arborio rice
- 1/2 cup light beer or dry white wine
- 2 3/4 cups warm chicken broth divided
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1/2 cup packed fresh parsley
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
- 4 basil leaves
- 2 1/2 cups chopped kale
- pinch of crushed red pepper
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 cups finely grated parmesan cheese divided
- 4 strips of fully-cooked bacon chopped (optional)
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a large, oven-proof saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until tender, about 8 minutes. Add the rice and season with salt and black pepper. Toss and cook for about 3 minutes. Add the beer and bring the mixture to a simmer. Cook until most of the liquid has been soaked up, about 5 minutes. Add 2 cups of the chicken broth and season once again to taste with salt and black pepper. Bring the mixture to a simmer and then cover. Transfer the pan to the oven and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and transfer back to the stove over medium heat. The rice will not be all the way cooked through at this point.
- While your rice is baking, prepare you pesto. To the bowl of your food processor, add 1/2 cup of the walnuts, garlic, parsley, chives, basil, kale, crushed red pepper, the remaining 6 tablespoons of olive oil, and a dash of salt and black pepper. Pulse until a pesto forms. If you would like to thin it out a bit, add a couple of tablespoons of water. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Set aside.
- With your risotto back on the stove, add the remaining 3/4 cup chicken broth. Continue cooking, stirring frequently, until the risotto is done to your liking.
- Reduce the heat to low and stir in the the pesto, butter, 1 cup of the parmesan cheese and bacon. Stir until the cheese and butter are melted. Season again with salt and black pepper.
- Serve the risotto topped with remaining walnuts and parmesan cheese. Enjoy immediately!