Pesto Risotto

Creamy Pesto Risotto made with arborio rice, chicken stock and basil pesto. This dish takes less than 40 minutes to make!

Pesto Risotto

Risotto has a bad rap for being a difficult and time consuming dish. Risotto is quite simple if you learn some of the basics (which I included below). This dish is super easy and takes only 40 minutes to make start to finish. A fancy dish without a lot of effort. Just how I like it.

This is a twist on the typical risotto. Made with arborio rice, chicken stock, lemon juice and Parmesan cheese. Boiled until all of the liquid is absorbed. The end result is a creamy thick risotto.

Basil Pesto Risotto recipe

Typically risotto is made with butter and wine. I skipped both and used olive oil to toast the arborio rice. I also added lemon juice for flavor. Warm stock is added periodically as the rice absorbs the liquid. The rice turns out creamy, rich and still has a nice al-dente bite.

As for the homemade pesto it is made with pine nuts, garlic and basil. For a twist try my walnut pesto.

Creamy Pesto Risotto recipe

Tips for making perfect risotto:

  • Choose the proper rice: Medium or short grain rice is typically used for risotto. Arborio rice is a medium grain rice with a starchy coating. The extra starch helps make the risotto extra creamy.
  • Toast the rice: An important step in risotto is toasting the rice. This allows the rice to absorb more liquid and not become soggy.
  • Use warm stock: It is important to add warm stock to the rice. I usually just keep it in a small saucepan on the burner behind the risotto. Adding cool stock to the risotto will bring down the temperature of the pan.

40 minute Creamy Pesto Risotto recipe

Wait until this dish it tossed together to season with salt and pepper. The chicken stock adds salt to the dish. Adding more salt could push it over the edge. Always taste before seasoning.

Add shrimp, scallops or shredded chicken to make this a full meal. You can substitute vegetable stock if you are a vegetarian and add in some veggies.

quick 40 minute Creamy Pesto Risotto recipe

Pesto Risotto

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 2
Creamy Pesto Risotto made with arborio rice, chicken stock and basil pesto. This dish takes less than 40 minutes to make!


Pesto Risotto

  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup arborio rice
  • 2 cups warm chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • pesto recipe follows


  • 2 tablespoon pine nuts
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 cup basil packed
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil


  1. Add oil to a medium skillet.
  2. Add rice and toast until lightly golden brown about 2 minutes.
  3. Pour in warm chicken broth 1/2 cup at a time until liquid is absorbed. (Keep chicken stock warm in a saucepan) Stir rice occasionally. Cook for 20-30 minutes or until all of the chicken stock is absorbed.
  4. Take off of heat and add in Parmesan cheese, lemon juice, pepper, and pesto. Stir to combine and serve immediately.


  1. Add pine nuts and garlic cloves to a food processor. Pulse for 30 seconds. Add in basil and pulse for an additional 30 seconds. Make sure to stir in between to make sure everything is mixed properly. Add olive oil in a slow steady stream. If pesto is too thick add in a bit more olive oil.

Recipe Notes

Original recipe from Please do not publish my recipe or pictures without linking back to the original post. Thank you!


Leave a Comment


  • Your tips for making risotto are so helpful, thanks for sharing! I can’t wait to give this recipe a try. I love risotto AND pesto, so this is a match made in heaven for me 🙂

  • Lauren

    Hi there, this looks delish! I love adding pesto to anything. Just so I know the measurements, if I don’t make my own pesto, but use one I have that is pre-made, how much should I add to the recipe? Or in other words, how much pesto does your recipe make?

    • Thanks Lauren! I would add 1/2 cup. But to be on the safe side start with 1/4 cup and add more if you need it.

      Hope you like it! Thanks!


  • Abi

    Hi, are you supposed to use chicken broth or stock for this recipe? Both are mentioned above. Thanks!

    • Hi Abi,

      Sorry about that. I see how that can be confusing. You can use either! I typically use whatever I have on hand which is usually chicken broth.