Pesto Risotto with Salmon is an extremely easy recipe to put together, perfect for a midweek meal, when many of us prefer to do quick and easy. Sure the risotto does need quite a bit of stirring but it can all be done in 30 minutes from start to end, provided you have the pesto all made before hand. As pesto keeps so beautifully, plan ahead and make the pesto over the weekend. Click for Pesto Recipe.
Having a jar of homemade pesto in the fridge is a very handy practice for the busy cook. If you’ve never tried your hand at making pesto before, I urge you to give it a go, it’s a 5 minute job that goes a long way! If you’re really not inclined, then make sure you always have a jar or two of a good shop bought variety.
Now you might have noticed that I have a thing about pesto and love using it in various dishes. You might be interested in checking out:
Different Ways with Pesto:
Pesto Panna Cotta (a savoury amuse-bouche)
Pesto Halloumi (a canapé)
As mentioned, our Pesto Risotto is super simple, we start with the basic risotto, risotto bianco, and before adding the parmesan, we jazz it up with the pesto and the salmon. In fact, risotto bianco is of course perfect on its own and to me, very filling too. It is the perfect platform for endless creativity – the obvious mushrooms but you can also go with meat, olives, anchovies or your favourite vegetables and of course this time of the year, pumpkin is a great choice.
Contrary to popular belief, Italians do keep their leftover pasta and this is super delicious reheated the next day!
Fish Stock – wants to be kept simmering away, so it doesn’t bring down the cooking temperature in the pan every time you add it.
Wine – the best you have, the sort you would drink, don’t ever use cooking wine. Omit if you don’t want any alcohol.
Parmesan Cheese – purists will tell you that Italians will never add cheese to seafood but you will find this traditional rule being broken more and more in Italy but always bearing in mind the final flavour. It won’t always work! In this recipe, as we are using pesto, I have taken the liberty of finishing of with some cheese and the taste is phenomenal, it just takes it to another level.
- 45g (3 tbsp) butter
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 250g risotto rice like arborio
- 50 ml white wine (leave out if you don't do alcohol)
- 1 litre light fish stock (homemade or good, additive free shop bought), kept gently simmering away
- 1 large salmon fillet (about 200g), chopped into tiny bite size pieces
- 2 handfuls baby spinach leaves
- 100g homemade pesto sauce
- 1 handful freshly shaved/grated parmesan (if you're not a purist!)
- 1 small handful flat leaf parsley & some for serving
- juice of quarter - half a lemon, to taste (I quite often leave the lemon out)
- freshly ground black pepper
- salt, if needed
- Place the fish stock in a saucepan and bring to simmer while you get the risotto going. By the time you need the stock, it should be simmering.
- Heat 2 tbsp of the butter and olive oil in a heavy based wide pan on medium heat.
- Gently sauté the onions for about a minute or two until slightly soft, just golden.
- Tip the rice in and coat thoroughly with all the lovely onion-butter mix.
- Add the wine and stir well. As we only have a small amount of wine, it will be absorbed very quickly. As mentioned, skip the wine if you like and proceed to the next step.
- Add 2 ladlefuls of the simmering stock and stir the contents of the pan. Keep stirring until the stock is almost all absorbed, then add another 2 ladlefuls. Keep repeating this, add, stir until almost absorbed until you are left with about 2 ladlefuls of stock. This will take about 15-20 minutes.
- After you add the final 2 ladlefuls in step 5 (with some left in the pot), tip all the salmon pieces in.
- Stir everything up thoroughly to cook the salmon as the stock is getting absorbed, about a minute.
- When the stock is almost gone, add the spinach leaves, stir for about 30 seconds for them to wilt. Add a final ladle of stock and stir until absorbed. Check your rice, it should be cooked with just a slight bite to it. If it's not quite cooked, add another ladleful of stock.
- Finally, when the rice is done, add the pesto in, stir for about 1 minute to heat right through and turn the heat off.
- Stir the parsley in.
- Add the parmesan in (if using), the half tbsp of butter, stir, cover and let rest for 2 minutes while you warm the plates up and get your cutlery.
- Serve immediately with some lemon juice, more parmesan, parsley and freshly ground black pepper.