The Ultimate Shortcut to Creamy, Tender Risotto

Risotto’s signature tenderness is traditionally achieved by slowing adding spoonfuls of liquid while the rice cooks—but this recipe achieves the same creamy deliciousness in half the time. Here, Arborio rice is toasted, then cooked with kale, white wine, and vegetable stock for lots of flavor and delightful texture. Nutty, veggie-rich walnut-kale pesto brings everything together in gloriously green fashion.

If you don’t have a food processor or blender, finely chop remaining kale, finely chop walnuts, mince garlic, finely chop basil, and thinly slice chives. Stir together with 6 tablespoons olive oil, then stir in half of Parmesan, 1 squeeze lemon juice, ½ teaspoon salt and black pepper as desired. Set aside until ready to serve.

1 cup white beans
1 lemon
4 ounces dinosaur kale, divided
1 shallot
8 ounces vegetable stock
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 cup Arborio rice
½ cup white wine
¼ cup walnuts, divided
1 clove garlic
¼ ounce basil
⅛ ounce chives
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided

¼ cup + 2½ tablespoons olive oil
1½ cups water
kosher salt
black pepper
6″ small pot with lid
8″ medium pot with lid
8″ small nonstick pan
blender or food processor (optional)


Prepare Ingredients:

Rinse white beans. Halve lemon. Rinse kale, trim and discard stems, and thinly slice leaves. Peel shallot and mince. In a small pot, combine vegetable stock and 1½ cups water and bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, remove from heat, cover to keep warm, and set aside.

Sauté Shallot and Toast Rice:

Heat butter and ½ tablespoon olive oil in a medium pot over medium-high heat. When butter is foamy, add shallot and sauté, stirring, until softened, 2-3 minutes. Add rice to pot and cook, stirring, until toasted and translucent, 2-3 minutes. Add half of kale and stir to combine, about 30 seconds.

Cook Risotto:

Stir in white wine and cook until mostly absorbed, 1 minute. Pour in warmed vegetable stock and water and season with ½ teaspoon salt. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender, 15-18 minutes. Remove pot from heat and cover to keep warm.

Toast Walnuts:

While risotto cooks, heat a small nonstick pan over medium heat. Carefully hover your hand over the pan—when you can easily feel the heat, add walnuts and toast, stirring constantly to avoid burning, until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and roughly chop. Set aside.

Make Kale Pesto:

If you have a food processor, crush garlic with the flat side of a knife (see Recipe Tip). Rinse remaining produce. Pick basil leaves, discarding stems. Roughly chop chives. In food processor, combine garlic, basil, chives, remaining kale, half of walnuts, and 6 tablespoons olive oil. Season with ½ teaspoon salt and pepper, then pulse until smooth. Transfer pesto to a small bowl, stir in half of Parmesan and 1 squeeze lemon juice. Set aside.

Plate Risotto:

Stir pesto, remaining Parmesan, and white beans into pot with risotto to combine. Plate risotto in serving bowls and sprinkle over remaining chopped walnuts. Dig in! Use remaining lemon to brighten a glass of water.


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