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Risotto with Kale Pesto and Bacon

Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time55 mins
Servings: 4


  • 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!