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Tomato and Mint Pesto Risotto

Tom Fundaro, the chef at Villa Creek in Paso Robles, California, balances his rich tomato risotto by stirring in a refreshing mint-spiked pesto just before serving.

slideshow Healthy Main Dishes

  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 6 to 8

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  • 3 garlic cloves, quartered
  • 2 cups mint leaves
  • 1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 7 cups light chicken stock or low-sodium broth
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups arborio or vialone nano rice (14 ounces)
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 1/4 pounds tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper


  1. In a blender, combine the garlic, mint, parsley, olive oil and lemon juice and puree until smooth. Scrape into a bowl and season with salt and pepper.
  2. In a medium saucepan, bring the chicken stock to a boil. Cover and keep hot over low heat. In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and garlic and cook over moderate heat until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the rice and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the white wine and boil, stirring, until almost evaporated. Add enough hot stock to just cover the rice and cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until it has been absorbed. Continue adding stock, 1 cup at a time, stirring constantly until it is absorbed and the rice is just tender and very creamy, about 20 minutes.
  3. Stir the tomatoes into the risotto and cook until heated through. Remove from the heat and stir in the mint pesto and the Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper, spoon into bowls and serve right away.

Make Ahead

The pesto can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.

Contributed By Published August 2004

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