Risotto is the perfect winter comfort food, but this uniquely flavour risotto is distinctly reminiscent of summer since it uses a jar of preserved red peppers. It’s perfect for those evenings when you are suffering from summer vegetable nostalgia due to winter root vegetable and brassica fatigue!
I think goat’s cheese is the perfect pairing for red peppers. I understand it’s a bit like marmite. You either love it or hate it! If you hate it, just swap it out for parmesan (it will be just as good!).
Walnuts are perfect here. They are slightly bitter, which balances the sweet, sharp red pepper and creamy cheese. They also provide a good crunch. If you must swap them for another nut – almonds are a good alternative – although the result is much more sweet.
To make the risotto
This is a simple dish to make. First you make a quick pesto from a jar of drained red peppers, basil, walnuts, garlic and olive oil. You will need a blender for this (a stick blender or food precessor will do the job). Don’t puree this mix for too long, since you want some of the walnuts to maintain some crunch.
After the pesto is made, it’s just a matter of making a basic risotto and stirring in the pesto and goat’s cheese at the end.
Red pepper, basil, walnut and goat’s cheese risotto
- saute pan
- wooden spoon
- 1 460 g jar red peppers, drained
- 80 g walnuts
- 4 garlic cloves 2 for the pesto and 2 for the risotto
- 100 ml olive oil good quality extra virgin is good here
- 10 g parmesan cheese
- 50 g basil plus some for garnish
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 large onion or 3 very small onions
- 400 g risotto rice
- 200 ml white wine
- 1 – 1.5 l vegetable stock
- 150 g goats cheese
- Make the pesto by blending the red peppers, walnuts, 2 small cloves of garlic (or 1 fat one), olive oil, parmesan cheese and basil in a blender until the red pepper is just smooth. You want the walnuts to maintain a little crunch.
- Make the risotto. Start by cooking the onions in the oil on a medium heat until soft – about 8 – 12 minutes is usually good.
- Add the garlic and cook for a few minutes more.
- Add the risotto rice and stir until coated in the oil. Cook for a few minutes.
- Add the white wine and stir until it is absorbed.
- Add the stock one ladle full at a time, and stir regularly, until the rice is cooked. Before adding another ladle full, you want the liquid to be absorbed. You may not need all the stock – it often depends on the variety of risotto rice you are using.
- Once the rice is cooked, stir in the red pepper pesto and goat's cheese. Stir until the goat's cheese is melted.
- Serve in a bowl and top with any reserved basil. Enjoy!