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Friday, February 20, 2015

Oven Risotto with Kale Pesto

It seems as though everyone on the island is preparing for the mass school vacation exodus. I popped into the bookstore this morning to grab this book for our trip (not that I'll be leisurely reading on the plane but love the idea of a "vacation book") and overhead three conversations about the eagerness to escape and what new books to pack. And this island we are all fleeing? Well it looks something like a magical (but really freakin' cold) ice kingdom. Here I'm sharing some of local photographer Alison Shaw's amazing shots.

Before we go, I had to try this Oven Risotto with Kale Pesto from the February issue of Bon Appetit. It lived up to all my expectations and makes the perfect winter dinner.





 Oven Risotto with Kale Pesto
 serves 4

1/2 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped, divided
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 cup arborio rice
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 small garlic clove
1 cup (packed) fresh parsley leaves
3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
2 cups Tuscan kale leaves, divided
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 ounces Parmesan, finely grated (about 2 cups)


Preheat oven to 350 F. Toast walnuts on a rimmed baking sheet, tossing occasionally, until golden brown, 8-10 minutes. Let cool.

Meanwhile, heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a large ovenproof saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring often, until softened and translucent, 5-8 minutes. Stir in rice; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until some grains are translucent, about 5 minutes.

Add wine, bring to a simmer, and cook until pan is almost dry, about 3 minutes. Add 2 cups very hot water; season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, cover, and bake in oven until liquid is mostly absorbed but rice is still starchy in the center, 15-18 minutes (it should be undercooked).


Meanwhile, pulse garlic and half of toasted walnuts in a food processor until very finely ground. Add parsley, chives, half of kale, remaining 2 Tbsp. oil and 1/4 cup cold water; process until smooth; season pesto with salt and pepper.

Set saucepan over medium heat. Add 3/4 cup very hot water and cook rice, stirring occasionally, until it is tender but still has some bite and sauce is creamy, about 3 minutes. Stir pesto, butter, three-quarters Parmesan, and remaining kale. Adjust consistency with water, if needed (I did), season with salt and pepper. Serve topped with remaining walnuts and cheese.


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