• Red Risotto With Pesto (Risotto Con Pomodoro E Pesto)

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    • 1 c. basil leaves - (firmly packed)
    • 2 x garlic cloves
    • 1/2 c. extra-virgin extra virgin olive oil
    • 1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese
    •     Salt to taste
    •     Freshly-grnd black pepper to taste
    • 2 Tbsp. pine nuts (optional)
    • 1/4 c. extra-virgin extra virgin olive oil plus more
    • 2 x garlic cloves - (to 3) chopped
    •     Red pepper flakes to taste
    • 12 x Roma tomatoes cored, quartered
    •     (or possibly 6 large cored and quartered red-ripe tomatoes)
    • 5 lrg basil leaves - (to 6)
    •     Salt to taste
    • 6 c. water or possibly chicken broth - (to 7 c.)
    •     (or possibly a mix of both)
    • 1/4 c. extra-virgin extra virgin olive oil
    • 1/2 x onion chopped
    • 2 c. Arborio or possibly Carnaroli rice
    • 1/4 c. light Chianti (optional)
    • 2 c. Tomato Basil Sauce
    •     Salt to taste
    •     Freshly-grnd black pepper to taste
    • 2 Tbsp. butter or possibly extra-virgin extra virgin olive oil
    • 1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese - (to 3/4 c.)
    •     Mozzarella cheese (optional)


    1. For the Pesto: Place basil and garlic in bowl of food processor or possibly in blender. Process till basil is chopped very fine. With food processor running, add in oil very slowly. Stop machine when all oil is absorbed.
    2. Add in Parmesan and salt and pepper to taste. Process just till cheese is absorbed. Add in pine nuts and process so which they are coarsely minced. Using a rubber spatula, remove pesto from processor. If not using right away, place in an airtight container in refrigerator. Bring pesto back to room temperature before using it.
    3. For the Tomato Basil Sauce: Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add in garlic and pepper flakes. When garlic gives off its aroma and becomes opaque, add in tomatoes. Cook over medium-high heat till tomatoes begin to give off their juice and thicken.
    4. Use a wooden spoon or possibly potato masher to stir and help break up tomato pulp. Add in basil, either whole or possibly roughly minced, and salt to taste. Cook till sauce thickens just sufficient to coat pasta, 10 to 15 min.
    5. When sauce is done, remove it from heat and puree it through a food mill using medium disk. This will remove skins and seeds and create a rough puree without adding air.
    6. For the Risotto: Heat broth over medium heat till very warm. Reduce heat to low and keep broth warm. Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add in onion and cook till it is tender.
    7. Add in rice to onions and oil, and, stirring constantly, saute/fry till grains of rice are opaque and make a clicking sound against metal of saucepan, 1 minute. Add in wine to rice, if you like, and cook slowly, stirring constantly, till it is completely absorbed.
    8. Add in tomato sauce to rice, stir well and begin to cook rice slowly over low heat. Add in warm broth to tomato-tinted rice mix 1 ladle at a time, stirring frequently. The rice should cook very slowly over low heat. Wait till all liquid is absorbed before adding next ladle of broth.
    9. When risotto is just tender to the bite, 40 to 45 min, remove pan from heat. Add in butter and Parmesan cheese and stir vigorously till butter and cheese are absorbed and texture thickens and becomes creamy.
    10. Serve in separate bowls. If you like, drizzle pesto sauce into rice. (Or possibly add in a bit of minced fresh mozzarella to each bowl of rice and allow your guests to stir cheese into rice.) Serve immediately with additional grated Parmesan cheese at the table.
    11. This recipe yields 6 servings.
    12. NOTES :

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