Money Matters: Pea and Pesto Risotto + Weekly Menu

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Happy Easter!

I toyed with not posting today as many will probably be spending time with their families, conversing over a large spread of Easter food…but this recipe seemed all too fitting for the occasion. It was its pretty green colors and simple, fresh ingredients perfectly representing spring…as well as the thought that my mom and mother-in-law would both appreciate a recipe like this.

Because it has a brief ingredient list.

They both love when I post recipes with very few ingredients. Not only that, but these ingredients are items that you may already have on hand. Recipes that require NO purchases at the grocery store are certainly a diamond in the rough!

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Let’s begin with the fact that you 1) really ought to know and love Arborio rice. It’s an Italian rice that is used to make risotto. Don’t let that ingredient deter you – it can be found in any local grocer near the other rices.

Let’s also bust the myth that making risotto is difficult or time-consuming. I have never stirred a risotto “constantly” in order for it to be creamy and rich and wonderful. Don’t listen to all those cooking shows…they exaggerate.

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This is the kind of meal where you blast the tunes, grab a glass of wine, get in the zone, and you’re sad that in a brief 30 minutes or less…it’s time to eat.

But then you quickly hustle to the table to be amazed by your creation and your sadness quickly fades to bliss and a feeling of complete and utter pride over a job well done.

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Truth be told, as I photographed, plated, and set this meal before Mr. Prevention and I…I wasn’t so sure. I was expecting something more green. I wasn’t expecting dinner to be so easy. I just wasn’t sure that it would deliver that wow-factor that risotto recipes so often do.

But Mr. P dug in first and declared the risotto “really good”. I dug in and confirmed. Simple, flavorful ingredients like pesto (store bought, homemade, or homemade pulled from your freezer) add so much flavor with so little effort. There’s no need for a laundry list of ingredients when you choose the right ones sometimes!

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Pea and Pesto Risotto slightly adapted from Hot From My Oven

4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 tsp dried rosemary (or 2 tsp fresh)
1 cup Arborio rice
1 cup frozen peas
1/4 cup prepared pesto

Directions:

In a small sauce pan, heat the broth over low heat until hot, but not boiling.

In a large skillet heat the olive oil until hot; add the garlic and rosemary and saute for about a minute. Add the Arborio rice and saute for 2-3 minutes.

Add the broth 1/2 cup at a time to the rice and stir frequently. Once the broth is absorbed, add another half cup of broth and continue to stir. Just before adding the last 1/2 cup broth, add the frozen peas. Once absorbed, add the pesto and stir well. Serve immediately.

Yield: 3 servings (about 1 heaping cup each)

Nutrition Information (per serving): 396 calories; 11.3 g. fat; 0 mg. cholesterol; 527 mg. sodium; 61 g. carbohydrate; 3.7 g. fiber; 4.3 g. protein

Result: If you love pesto, this is a risotto for you! A little bit of pesto goes a long way, and those peas add the perfect pop of green spring color and flavor. This meal is quick, simple, cheap, and comes in under 400 calories. You could certainly serve the risotto as a side to stretch the recipe, decrease the carbohydrate content, and add a protein serving (shrimp, chicken, and fish all come to mind!) to add some protein. Enjoy!

Money Matters: A quart of vegetable broth ($1.25 from CostCo), pesto (8 oz store bought jars are $3.50…I used half for $1.75), and the arborio rice (about $6.99 for 4 cups — $1.75/cup) are the “expensive” ingredients. I find 12 ounce packs of frozen peas 10 for $10 at my Kroger all the time ($0.50/cup) and the garlic, rosemary, and olive oil come to ~$0.45. The total cost of the recipes comes to $5.70 and the cost per serving $1.90!

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Weekly Menu: April 8th-12th

It’s dreary here today, but we’re going to do some yard work, workout, and celebrate Easter with burgers on the grill.

Be well,

Share With Your Friends!

22 Comments

  1. April 8, 2012 / 12:47 pm

    Your arborio rice looks so much longer grained than the stuff I usually buy.

  2. April 8, 2012 / 7:02 pm

    Love your rice! I too am a big fan of arborio rice. I love what you’ve done by adding the pesto. Sounds and LOOKS delicious

  3. April 8, 2012 / 7:14 pm

    Beautiful pictures!! We’ve always wanted to try risotto. Unfortunately, Rick hates peas… I love them. 🙁

    • jo
      April 10, 2012 / 5:32 pm

      The first risotto I ever had was a pesto risotto – no peas. It was delicious! Make the pesto risotto and then add the peas just to your serving. They aren’t cooked that long in this recipe that they take on any flavor – they just enhance.

      I bake my risotto – much easier than hanging out over the stove – unless of course, you like to do the stirring thing. Heat oven to 425° In an oven proof pot, saute the garlic for a bit, add all the broth and rice and bring to a boil. Cover the pot and put in the oven – cook 20-25 minutes or til rice is tender. Pull it out of the oven and stir in the peas and pesto (I might even add some parmessan cheese) and stir to combine. It’s pretty fool proof and should turn out cream and yummy every time.

      • Nicole, RD
        Author
        April 11, 2012 / 9:01 am

        Interesting. I will definitely have to try baking it at some point – thanks for the suggestion!

    • Nicole, RD
      Author
      April 9, 2012 / 6:43 am

      Happy Easter, my dear! 🙂

  4. April 9, 2012 / 12:10 am

    This looks amazing!
    And yes, I agree. Definitely don’t need to need to be stirring it constantly.
    Happy Easter, Nicole!

  5. April 9, 2012 / 12:34 am

    The risotto sounds great! And your weekly meals sound wonderful, too!

    Hope you had a nice Easter!

    • Nicole, RD
      Author
      April 9, 2012 / 6:47 am

      Thank you, Andrea! And Happy (belated) Easter to you and your family!

  6. April 9, 2012 / 2:40 am

    This looks really good, and I love that you used veggie broth for it. Not that I wouldn’t have subbed it anyway, but I like that you used the veggie when you made it. Too many things wind up with chicken broth and I think many people don’t realize veggie broth can be good too.

    • Nicole, RD
      Author
      April 9, 2012 / 6:47 am

      Melinda, I know what you mean…definitely 🙂

  7. April 10, 2012 / 10:04 am

    I love this! Reminds me of a risotto that I made with peas and mint, but I bet the pesto is an amazing addition too. Congrats on the top 9!

    • Nicole, RD
      Author
      April 11, 2012 / 9:04 am

      Thanks so much! 🙂

  8. April 10, 2012 / 10:30 am

    I love the idea of adding pesto to risotto. I quite often make risotto but usually add mushrooms and peas.

  9. April 10, 2012 / 11:25 am

    Congrats on Top 9! Risotto is one of my fave family meals. I will definitely be trying this!
    ceecee

    • Nicole, RD
      Author
      April 11, 2012 / 9:01 am

      Thanks, Ceecee…appreciate it! 🙂

  10. April 10, 2012 / 5:04 pm

    This recipe looks excellent and I love the pea’s. I haven’t had pea’s in a long time and they look wonderful here. Looks like tonight s asparagus… yummy! Perfect layout to a week’s worth of dinner planning too. New fan and SRC friend here 🙂

  11. April 10, 2012 / 11:30 pm

    Risotto is one of my very favorite things to make! I never thought of adding pesto to it, though! I’m definitely (definitely!) going to have to try this.

  12. April 12, 2012 / 1:46 pm

    My blog post stats exploded the second you posted the Spinach and Artichoke stuffed Portobellos. I just dropped by to say thanks for posting it! Hope you liked them.

  13. April 17, 2012 / 6:10 pm

    Love the simplicity of this–Sounds delicious!

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