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Oven-Baked Pesto Risotto
with asparagus and peas

Active: 25 min Total: 45 min
Oven-baked risottos are a great way to enjoy this Italian rice dish on a weeknight because it means no-stirring! Finish with pesto for a tasty herbaceous zing!
Smarts: It doesn't take much more work to double your pesto for easy freezing.


Pesto Risotto with Asparagus and Peas:
  • Garlic - 2 cloves , minced
  • Onions - 1 , diced
  • Asparagus - 1 lb , sliced into 1" / 2.5cm segments
  • Beans, cannellini or white (14oz / 397g) - 1 can , rinsed and drained
  • Oil, cooking - 1 Tbsp + 2 tsp
  • Rice, Arborio - 1 cup
  • Stock, chicken - 4 cups
  • Peas, frozen - 1 1/2 cups
  • Homemade basil pesto (ingredients listed separately) - 1/2 cup
  • Parmesan cheese - for serving
  • Creme fraiche (opt) - for serving
Basil Pesto (2 dinners):
  • Pine nuts - 3 Tbsp
  • Garlic - 2 cloves , peeled
  • Basil leaves - 3 oz
  • Lemon juice - 1 tbsp
  • Oil, cooking - 6 Tbsp


  1. Make pesto - (If prepping day of, you can make this while risotto cooks in the oven.) Toast nuts in a dry skillet or frying pan until fragrant and golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Peel garlic cloves. Place nuts, garlic, basil leaves, and lemon juice into a food processor. Pulse until all ingredients are well chopped. With food processor running, drizzle in oil until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Save 1/4 cup (59 mL) for Tuesday night’s dinner (amount for 4 servings; adjust accordingly if customizing). (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
  2. Garlic / Onions - Prep as directed. (Can be done up to 4 days ahead)
  3. Asparagus - Snap off ends and chop into 1” / 2.5cm segments. (Can be done up to 2 days ahead)
  4. Beans - Rinse and drain.

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  1. Heat oven to 425F / 218C. Situate racks so that you can fit both a saute pan on the bottom rack and a sheet pan on the top rack.
  2. Heat an oven-safe saute pan that has a lid over medium heat. Add first part of oil and then garlic and onions to heated oil. Saute until softened, ~2 minutes.
  3. Stir in arborio rice and saute until rice is lightly toasted and the pan is dry. Pour in broth or stock and bring to a boil. Cover and transfer to the lower rack of the oven. Bake for 20 minutes.
  4. Spread asparagus out onto a sheet pan and toss with second part of oil. Roast in the oven for 4 to 7 minutes (depending on thickness of asparagus). Time it so that it finishes the same time as the risotto.
  5. When risotto is done, return it to medium heat. Fold in peas, beans, and pesto (make sure you’ve already reserved ¼ cup / 59 mL for tomorrow night’s dinner). Stir until peas are warmed up.
  6. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide into plates or bowls and top with asparagus, cheese, and creme fraiche (if using). Enjoy!



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