I love pesto, meatballs, and risotto. So why not combine all of them into one fabulous dish? This Pesto Meatball Risotto is the result. This is the perfect recipe to make on a cold winter night, when sleet is hitting the windows and your house is nice and warm and cozy.
Risotto is made by slowly cooking rice in chicken broth or stock, adding the liquid very slowly while stirring. This forces the rice to release starch, which makes the finished dish very creamy. This recipe is not difficult; it just takes a bit of time to make and some patience. As the end of the cooking time nears, start tasting the rice so you'll know when it's perfectly cooked.
Frozen precooked meatballs are the best choice for this recipe, but you can certainly make your own if you'd prefer. The meatballs should be hot when they are stirred into the pesto, so they don't interfere with the cooking process.
And you can purchase pesto for this recipe or make your own. Choose any brand or variety you like from the grocery store if you buy it. If you are lucky enough to grow basil in the summer, make pesto and freeze it for use in the winter in dishes just like this one.
Serve this flavorful recipe with some white wine, a tossed green salad or a fruit salad, and enjoy every bite.
- 1 (16 ounce) package frozen precooked meatballs, baked, OR homemade meatballs
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups arborio rice
- 1/2 cup white wine, or chicken broth
- 4 to 6 cups chicken broth
- 1 (7 ounce) container refrigerated basil pesto OR 1 cup prepared pesto
- 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons butter
Prepare the meatballs as directed on package; set aside.
Put the chicken broth into a medium saucepan and place over low heat.
In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic; cook and stir until vegetables are tender, about 6 to 7 minutes.
Add the rice; cook and stir for another 2 minutes or until the rice is coated with the oil.
Add the white wine; cook and stir until all of the wine is evaporated.
Then start adding the chicken broth, a ladle at a time, stirring frequently, until the rice is al dente. That means the rice is tender, but still has a bit of firmness in the center. This stirring action helps release the starch from the rice. The whole process should take about 20 minutes.
When the rice is done, stir in the pesto, cheese, meatballs, and butter.
Remove the skillet from the heat and cover. Let stand for 5 minutes. Then uncover, stir gently, and serve immediately.