Pesto Risotto Muffins

Risotto goes from time-consuming to totally cute with these bite-size versions of the creamy, cheesy Italian classic. Top them with garlicky pesto, as shown here, smother ‘em with your favorite marinara sauce, or add a few handfuls of frozen peas when simmering for a pop of color.

Casey Barber

Pesto Risotto Muffins

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    1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil 1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese + additional for garnish
    1 tablespoon unsalted butter kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
    1 large shallot, minced 1 packed cup basil leaves, rinsed and patted dry
    2 medium garlic cloves, one minced and one roughly chopped 3 tablespoons finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese
    1 cup Arborio or Carnaroli rice 1 tablespoon pine nuts
    2 cups chicken or vegetable broth, divided, at room temperature 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
    2 tablespoons cornstarch


    Prep: 10 min Total:
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    • 1

      Preheat the oven to 350F.

    • 2

      Melt the butter and 1 tablespoon oil together in a 2-quart high-sided skillet or sauté pan over medium-low heat.

    • 3

      Add the minced shallot and cook, stirring frequently, for 4-5 minutes, until the shallot is soft and just starting to brown at the edges. Add the minced garlic and cook for 30 seconds more.

    • 4

      Add the rice and cook, stirring frequently, for about 3 minutes, to give the rice a hint of toasty color and flavor.

    • 5

      Stir in 1 cup of the broth and cover. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 7-8 minutes, until the rice has absorbed most of the broth.

    • 6

      While the rice simmers, whisk the remaining broth with the cornstarch.

    • 7

      When the rice has soaked up most of the broth, add the whisked, dissolved cornstarch mixture and cook, stirring constantly, for 1-2 minutes to thicken the risotto.

    • 8

      Remove from the heat and stir in 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

    • 9

      Spoon 2 tablespoons of risotto into the wells of a standard 12-cup muffin tin; you will be able to fill 10 of them. Bake for about 25 minutes, until the tops and edges of the risotto muffins are crispy and just starting to turn golden brown.

    • 10

      Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Loosen each muffin with an offset spatula or mini silicone spatula if you’re using a nonstick muffin tin, and gently remove from the pan.

    • 11

      Serve each muffin topped with a dollop of pesto (see step below for pesto) and a sprinkle of additional cheese.

    • 12

      Combine basil leaves, roughly chopped garlic, 3 tablespoons Pecorino Romano cheese, pine nuts, 1/4 cup oil and freshly ground pepper in a small food processor and pulse until a thick puree forms.

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