Delia Smith's Pesto Rice

Delia Smith's Pesto Rice

Delia Smith's Vegetarian Collection is easily the most gorgeous cookbook in my library… it's even a little daunting at times to attempt to make food as beautiful as hers. But although a few of her recipes are more involving and are clearly intended for grander entertaining purposes than I usually require, there are many more simple and eloquent dishes that don't take any more know-how or time than the typical cook has but make you appear to be a trained chef to your family and friends.

This pesto rice is one such easy and elegant addition to an ordinary summer dinner that will make it seem anything but ordinary, and at the cost of very little time or effort. The fresh grated Parmesan cheese and arborio rice give it the creamy and slightly chewy texture of risotto that we all love without the fuss of the usual reduction-based cooking method for risottos, while the homemade pesto is as cool, refreshing and as perfect a background for rice as it is for pasta. One could think they're sitting at an expensive seaside Italian restaurant when this is put before them. I prefer it served warm, but it goes equally well as a cold rice salad for picnics or outdoor meals. If you discipline your diners, it will serve 4 to 6 people as given below, but it's not a bad idea to be prepared for people to ask for seconds and double the recipe.

Delia Smith's Pesto RiceDelia Smith's Pesto Rice
Recipe by
From Delia's Vegetarian Collection
Cuisine: Italian
Published on August 8, 2007

Simple, elegant, delicious and beautiful pesto rice with the creamy and chewy texture of risotto without the trouble of the usual reduction-based method of cooking risottos

Preparation: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes

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  • 2 oz (50 g) fresh basil leaves
  • 1 tablespoon pine nuts
  • 1 large clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 oz (25 g) fresh grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • fresh basil leaves, torn or bruised
  • 4 green onions, finely sliced
  • fresh Parmesan cheese, pared into shavings with a knife or peeler
  • Once the ingredients are prepared, heat the vegetable stock over low-medium heat in a medium saucepan, being careful not to bring to a boil. If it does start boiling, turn down the heat slightly and remove the pan from the burner for a few moments.

  • In the meantime, make the pesto by putting the basil, pine nuts, garlic, salt and olive oil into a food processor or blender and purée until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the grated Parmesan cheese.

  • Take a few spoonfuls of the pesto and stir into the rice to coat all the grains. When the vegetable stock is hot but not boiling, pour the coated rice into the saucepan and stir in the salt. Turn up the heat on the stove. As soon as the rice and stock begin to boil, cover with a lid and turn down the heat to low. Cook for exactly 20 minutes.

  • Once the rice is cooked, transfer it to a serving bowl. Add the remaining pesto, lemon juice, olive oil and fresh ground black pepper to taste, and combine by stirring gently.

  • If serving warm, scatter the garnish ingredients over the top and serve. If cold, add the garnishes just before serving

Makes 4 servings

1 comment:

Kalyn said...

It does sound really delicious. I love rice, especially when it's got some stronger flavors added like this recipe. Welcome to WHB! Great entry.