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Creamy and Delicious Red Pesto Risotto

Creamy and Delicious Red Pesto Risotto

This last few weeks have been pretty busy. With friends visiting us, us visiting Copenhagen, work deadlines, preparing for moving, city trips and Christmas planning I haven’t been cooking much. It was all about salads, soups, sandwiches and eating out lately.

I love to cook and love to eat the meals we prepare at home. So I really look forward to calmer weekends after New Year’s when we will be in our new flat. The flat with an oven so I’ll finally be able to bake. I have a long list of cakes and cookies to try and cannot wait.

Even on busy schedules, I try to cook at least when we are at home on the weekend. I almost never cook anything labor intensive, but sometimes even the basic meals can feel fancy.

That’s the case of this Italian style risotto. This recipe is much easier than traditional recipes for Italian risotto. It’s not necessary to constantly stir the rice. It has a ton of flavor, is creamy and delicious.

This red pesto risotto is one of the easiest and the most popular recipe of ours. I first made it more than five years ago, and it was the first Italian risotto I made at home. It was a hit, and since then it makes a regular appearance on our table.

I made so many changes to the original recipe that it’s practically a new recipe altogether. I like this version the best. It’s super easy to prepare, no constant stirring needed. You need only 6 ingredients, all easily available in any grocery store. And it’s ready in under an hour and most of the time it cooks without your intervention.

Red Pesto Risotto

Servings: 2


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup whole short-grain rice
  • 90 – 100 grams red pesto
  • 50 grams Parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • 12 – 16 cherry tomatoes, cut into quarters (yields about 1 cup)
  • salt


  1. Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan. Once heated, add the onion and sauté until translucent.
  2. Next, add the rice and sauté for a few minutes.
  3. Pour 2 cups of boiling water and add a bit of salt to the saucepan. Bring to simmer, then lower the heat and let the rice gently simmer for about 30 minutes. (In case you are using white rice, let it simmer for about 15 minutes).
  4. Taste the rice, if it’s far from being done, let simmer for 10 more minutes and check again. If the rice is almost done add the pesto, mix well and let cook for few more minutes, until the rice is fully cooked.
  5. When the rice is fully cooked, stir in the Parmesan cheese and add the tomatoes. Remove from the heat and let sit for a few minutes.
  6. Garnish with more tomatoes, Parmesan cheese or basil before serving.

red pesto risotto

As I already mentioned, this red pesto risotto has been a huge hit in our home for years now. We often prepare the green version of it as well (using green pesto and zucchini). I might share that recipe next time. 😉

Do you like Italian food? What is your favorite Italian recipe to prepare at home? Would love to find you in the comments!