A creamy vegetable risotto with lovely roasted asparagus and beans and fresh, flavourful basil pesto. Comfort food taken to a new level!
For another creamy risotto, try our stunningly savoury Roasted Mushroom Risotto!
When I think of food that is good for the soul, my mind goes very quickly to the Italian classic, risotto. And why not? Sumptuously creamy, savoury and always satisfying, it is a food that I connect with in a deep way!
It’s a shame that risotto has gained a reputation for being a fussy dish to make. It’s true that it takes a bit more attention – and stirring – than a lot of dishes.
But that doesn’t mean that it’s hard to make and should only be left to professional chefs in Italian restaurants. It’s perfectly possible to make silky, delicious risotto in your own home!
Creamy risotto with roasted vegetables is a legend that I return to time and again. This vegetable risotto starts with a classic recipe but adds a twist.
The twist is the stunning homemade pesto. It adds such a fresh kick to this dish, and pairs perfectly with the savoury taste of roasted vegetables.
The key to creamy risotto is adding the stock slowly and giving it time to be absorbed before adding more. By stirring it regularly, the starch in the rice grains is released and, voila, creamy risotto! That means it is not to be rushed, but the extra time and attention is well worth while!
To make this a vegetable risotto, I’ve roasted asparagus and beans before adding to the final dish. By cutting them into bite sized pieces first, they are easier to eat in the risotto.
The vegetables add a hit of freshness even when roasted. Plus, of course, a bit of added nutrition!
This pesto recipe is based on the classic Italian recipe, which I think is an absolute must have for any home cook. Although I bought my pesto pre-made for years, it just cannot compete with freshly made.
Making pesto is about as simple as it comes. Through all the ingredients in a blender or food processor and blitz until smooth and combined.
In the recipe card I have given my preferred proportions of the ingredients, but it’s always the taste test that matters. Try the pesto after running it through your blender or food processor to make sure you are happy with the taste. It may need more lemon juice, garlic or salt.
The pesto from this recipe can be used in many meals. You’ll also find it in my Basil Pesto Pasta recipe!
Recipe tips and notes
- Unlike other types of rice, it’s important not to rinse risotto rice before cooking. Rinsing the rice will remove much of the starch, which is necessary for really creamy risotto.
- Don’t forget to add the stock gradually and stir regularly while cooking. This is essential for truly creamy risotto!
- Any roasted vegetables can be used in this recipe, which allows you to use whatever is in season. Using butternut squash is a great way to make this into an autumn recipe!
- Almonds or cashews can be used in the pesto instead of pine nuts.
- There are lots of types of pesto, and although I love the classic basil version, each would bring something different to this dish. Sun-dried tomato pesto would be amazing!
More Italian recipes
- Roasted Cherry Tomato Pasta with Burrata
- Vegan Alfredo Sauce
- Vegetable Lasagna
- Vegan Tuscan Chickpea Soup
For the pesto
- 50g/2 ½ cups fresh basil
- 50g/1/3 cup blanched almonds
- 50g/1/3 cup vegetarian hard cheese
- 4 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 lemon, juice only
For the risotto
- 300g/1 ½ cups Arborio rice
- 2 stalks celery
- 1 white onion
- 125ml/1/2 cup white wine
- 500ml/2 cups vegetable stock
- 500ml/2 cups water
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- Salt to taste
For the roasted vegetables
- 200g/7 oz asparagus
- 200g/7 oz green beans
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
To make the basil pesto
- Add fresh basil, almonds, hard cheese, pressed garlic clove and lemon juice to a food processor or blender. Process until smooth. With the motor still running, pour in the olive oil and process for 10-20 seconds longer. Add a pinch of salt if needed.
To make the roasted vegetables
- Preheat the oven to 200C/400F. Spread the vegetables on a shallow roasting pan and coat with olive oil and season with salt. Roast in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Chop into bitesize chunks before adding to the risotto.
To make the risotto
- Heat a large pan or wide pot over medium heat and pour in 2 tablespoon of olive oil. Chop the celery and onions finely and sauté for 10 minutes.
- Add arborio rice and sauté while stirring so the rice is evenly coated with the olive oil, for about 1 minute. Pour in the white wine and stir until it has completely evaporated. Scrape the bottom to release the brown bits into the broth. Allow it to simmer over low heat for 2 or 3 minutes.
- Add the vegetable stock and give it a good stir, leave to cook. The stock should be just above the rice when you first add it. Once you see the stock going down add a bit more and stir. Make sure the stock is nearly absorbed into the rice before adding more stock. Repeat until all the stock is gone and the rice is cooked but still slightly chewy.
- Once the rice is cooked and the risotto has a creamy consistency, cut up the roasted asparagus and green beans into small pieces and add to the rice. Stir to combine.
Almonds or cashews can be used in place of pine nuts when making pesto.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 960Total Fat: 73gSaturated Fat: 17gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 52gCholesterol: 61mgSodium: 1184mgCarbohydrates: 39gFiber: 10gSugar: 7gProtein: 32g