Mache Pesto Risotto Recipe (+Giveaway)
Remember when I said I always have pesto prepared in advance and stored in the freezer? This recipe doesn't require a lot of effort if you already have pesto on hand. Today I made risotto with my favorite pesto recipe, made with mâche leaves. In case you’re not familiar, mâche, or lamb's ear lettuce, is a small-leaved, brightly-colored green. It has a mild but very distinct flavor.
First, I cooked Carnaroli rice with vegetable stock until tender. Once the rice absorbed all the liquid, I added the mache pesto, caramelized onions and Parmesan shavings. This simple recipe makes a quick and easy comfort food fix in less than 40 minutes.
Today's giveaway is an assortment of all four varieties of HK Anderson pretzels. They are crisper than any brand of pretzels I've ever had. HK Anderson have been making these crunchy treats since 1888. I really like the thin-shelled ones filled with peanut butter. Being French, I didn't grow up with peanut butter and this is one of the few ways I enjoy them. For a chance to win, just enter on the 25 Days of Giveaways page.
Make sure you're a fan of PhamFatale Facebook fan page and HK Anderson pretzels or follow @Phamfatalecom and tweet about this giveaway. To make it easy, you can just copy and paste this tweet if you’d like: "Pretzels #Giveaway from @Phamfatalecom and @hkpretzel: http://bit.ly/sp4V7y".
Yields: 8 servings2 (4-ounce) bags mâche
juice of a lemon
1 clove fresh garlic, finely minced
½ cup pine nuts, slightly toasted
½ cup olive oil
1 red onion, diced
2 cups Carnaroli rice
1 cup orzo pasta (or more rice)
6-½ cups vegetable stock, warm
1 cup Parmesan cheese, shaved
¼ cup heavy cream (optional)
½ teaspoon white pepper, freshly ground
3 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
For the mâche pesto: In a blender (or a mini-food prep if you have one), combine the mâche, lemon, 1 clove of garlic, pine nuts, ¼ cup Parmesan cheese and 4 tablespoons olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. You might want to add about 2 tablespoons (or more) of water for a smooth flow. Set aside.
For the risotto:
In a deep saucepan, heat the oil and add the red onion. Cook until golden. Transfer 2 to 3 tablespoons of caramelized onions to a plate, leaving as much oil as possible in the saucepan. In the same saucepan, add the orzo and rice to the onions. The oil should coat all the grains. Add 2 cups of vegetable stock and ½ cup Parmesan cheese and stir frequently.
After bringing the liquid to a boil, lower the heat to medium-low and cook for about 10 minutes. Check the liquid and periodically add ½ cup of warm stock as soon as the liquid has been absorbed. Season with salt. Let simmer for another 25 minutes.
When the rice is almost cooked, add the reserved red onions and mâche pesto. Finish with heavy cream (if used) or more vegetable stock (for a healthier version). Check the seasoning and add salt (if necessary) and pepper. Stir well. Sprinkle with parsley and the remaining Parmesan cheese. Let sit for about 5 minutes.
You could also add more slightly toasted nuts if you like.
Coating each grain in butter prevents them from sticking to one another.
For this dish, I used exactly 6-½ cups of stock (you could also use chicken stock). The quantity of liquid may vary depending on the heat of the stove and how long you're cooking the grains. At the end, I let it simmer uncovered, sometimes adding another ¼ cup of warm liquid at a time until I achieve the right consistency and level of doneness. I like risotto al dente, not too mushy. Watch the risotto closely! The key is to pour the liquid incrementally and never let the dish dry out, or the rice and pasta will burn at the bottom.
You could substitute spinach, arugula, parsley, cilantro, basil or even regular salad lettuce for the mâche.
You can store the pesto in your freezer for up to 6 months or up to 2 weeks in your refrigerator. I always make extra to store in the freezer. I usually store the rest in an ice-cube tray and freeze it. Later, I transfer the ice-cubes 3 by 3 into bags that I vacuum-seal and place back in the freezer for future use. I add these cubes to sauces or marinades; the possibilities are endless.
You can find French mâche (also known as "lamb's ear lettuce" in the U.S.) at Trader Joe's. A 4-ounce bag costs $2.49. It's a little pricey but it is worth it. It's by far my favorite lettuce. I buy several bags every time I go to Trader Joe's. I sometimes add it to make green drinks or fruit smoothies.
Published By: on December 20, 2011.