Risotto with Pesto and Grilled Pesto Chicken

Risotto is a fun food that can be mixed up several different ways. For this one prepackaged pestowas used to make it easier. The risotto is great as is or add chicken, shrimp or scallops for an entrée. Grilled Pesto Chicken was added for a for a slam dunk complement the dish as shown. Garlic is optional, because of the addition of the pesto.

Ingredients

Risotto
3 tablespoons of olive oil
1/2 cup of finely diced yellow onion
2 garlic cloves minced -optional
1 1/2 cups of risotto
1/2 cup of dry white wine
4 cups of chicken broth
1 cup of packaged or jarred pesto
Grilled Pesto Chicken
1 1/2 pounds of chicken breasts – larger pieces sliced in half to make thinner
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 tablespoon of jarred or packaged pesto
Non-stick cooking spray
Garnish
1/4 cup of toasted pine nuts
1/2 cup of parmesan cheese
1/2 cup of finely diced tomatoes

Technique

Prepare garnish of toasted pine nuts by placing them in a small skillet over low heat and stir until a light brown. Remove from heat and set aside for garnishing.

Prepare chicken breasts, by removing any skin or fat. Slice thick pieces in half horizontally to insure even cooking times. Place in mixing bowl. Add olive oil and pesto and toss until evenly coated. Set aside until ready to grill. When ready to grill, spray grill or grill pan with non-stick cooking spray and then heat grill to medium high heat and grill chicken until thoroughly cooked. Remember not to turn on the burner or light the grill until AFTER you have sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.  Cooking times may vary depending on thickness of the chicken and the grill type. For this cut of chicken it took 6 minutes on each side. Let chicken rest for 5 minutes before slicing.

Using a large heavy sauce pan sauté the oil and onions over medium heat until translucent. Add the risotto and garlic and stir for about a minute. Add white wine and stir. Add stock about 1 cup at a time. Stir frequently, adding stock when most has been absorbed. This process takes about 30 minutes. When risotto is tender, stir in pesto. Scoop risotto into bowls and add sliced chicken and garnish with toasted pine nuts, parmesan cheese and diced tomatoes.

Suggested Beverage

Try McManis Family Vineyards Petite Syrah,  Rodney Strong Pinot Noir (California),  Pedroncelli Pinot Noir (Russian River Valley, California), Convivio Red Wine by Field Stone (Alexander Valley), .

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