Oven-Baked Chicken Pesto Risotto For One

A few weeks ago I made my Creme Fraiche, Pesto and Sundried Tomato Gnocchi (it was yummy as ever!!), and then realised I had an open jar of pesto that I really didn’t want to see go to waste. I asked my Twitter friends for ideas on ways to use it, and received lots of fab ideas that I plan to try out over the next few weeks. But whilst I was reading through all the suggestions, I suddenly had a eureka moment and thought about putting pesto in one of my all-time favourite dishes – Risotto. Basing it around my basic risotto recipe, I decided to experiment with a few additions until I came up with this dish.

I was going to make this the traditional way and stand stirring it constantly for 30 minutes, but then I remembered how easy and tasty this Oven-Baked Ham and Pea Risotto was and my inner laziness took over. And I’m glad I did as it was delicious. I think this may be my new favourite risotto flavour too, and I urge all fans of pesto to make it asap!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp butter
  • 85g risotto rice
  • 250ml chicken stock – made using 2 low salt chicken oxo cubes
  • 1 cooked chicken breast, chopped into bitesize chunks
  • 2 tbsp pesto
  • 1 heaped tbsp Philadelphia cream cheese

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C or gas mark 6
  2. Melt the butter in a pan, then add the onion and garlic and fry for a few minutes until softened. Add the rice and cook for 1 minute, then stir in the stock, bring it to the boil for one minute and transfer it all to an ovenproof dish
  3. Cover with a lid or foil and bake in the oven for 30 minutes, stirring halfway through
  4. After 20 minutes, add the chicken and pop it back in to the oven for 4-5 minutes until the chicken is warmed through, the rice is cooked and all the stock has been used up
  5. Remove the dish from the oven and stir in the pesto and cream cheese until the cream cheese has all melted in – taste it at this point to see if you need to add more pesto! Then serve

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Tips and Ideas:

  • Add chopped sun-dried tomato to the risotto for extra flavour
  • Use different flavoured pesto, such as the Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto or Roasted Pepper Risotto
  • Swap the chicken for quorn for a veggie alternative

Have you got any ideas for ways to use up pesto too? Do you have a recipe for homemade pesto you’d like to share? What’s your favourite risotto flavour? Please comment below or post it on my blog’s Facebook page.

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