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Mackerel + Pesto Pea Risotto

October 3, 2009 by Joan Nova in Fish/Seafood, Rice/Risotto, Side Dishes | 15 Comments

I’m not a big risotto fan. Didn’t have much luck the few times I made it and I never liked the idea of standing at the stove and stirring for 20 minutes. But, I was recently served a risotto that was totally made in the microwave (shocker!) and it was pretty darn good. So that got me thinking about risotto again and I’ve since made two different ones (the old-fashioned way on the stove). Here’s the first. The second is a pumpkin risotto which I’ll post another day.

Truth be told, my ideas and flavor profiles were better than the outcome. In each case, I seemed to have undercooked the rice. I told you I get tired stirring :) But the flavors were definitely there! Perhaps next time I should try the microwave.

Pesto-Pea Risotto for 2

  • 1/2 cup rice
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 shallot minced
  • 1 cup basil pesto (basil, olive oil, s+p, red pepper flakes, garlic, almonds or walnuts, grated cheese blended together)
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas blended with pesto (reserve a few for decoration)

Saute shallot and garlic in pan, add rice and cook according to directions, folding in pesto-pea mixture just about 5 minutes before done. Toss with a generous handful of grated cheese (parmesan, locatelli, reggiano – your favorite).

The risotto was a perfect accompaniment to the Mackerel served with a Lemon-Caper-Artichoke Sauce.

I dredged the Mackerel in garbanzo and fava bean flour and chose to bake it  rather than fry, putting it under the broiler to crisp for the last couple of minutes. The Lemon-Caper-Artichoke Sauce was made by softly poaching thinly sliced lemons, capers, a marinated artichoke heart ‘deflowered’ (excuse the expression: it means broken apart) with some of the juice from the artichokes and a little olive oil.

Be sure to eat the lemons. They get sweet!

NOTE: Some recipes found on FOODalogue are offered without ingredient quantities. They're meant as a guide to food pairings and techniques to be experimented with … in your own kitchen … to your own spice and taste levels … to your preferred portion sizes … and to however many people you’re cooking for. A perfect meal has multiple levels of flavor and textures, bright colors and tastes, and healthy(ish) choices. It's all about enjoyment. Enjoy the process, the presentation and the just rewards...eating!


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  1. ruth says:

    Beautiful Colours and that fish looks cooked to perfection!

  2. It looks amazing. The pesto looks so bright and inviting! :)

  3. Erica says:

    I love risotto, but I don’t have the patience to make it. It looks great.

  4. redkathy says:

    Beautiful Mackerel! Lemon, capers and artichokes, count me in! My grandmother used to prepare something similar on Christmas Eve.

  5. Ivy says:

    I love risotto but didn’t know that you can make it in the microwave. It sounds great and the fish beautiful.

  6. Peter G says:

    Joan, I love the whole spectrum of flavours and textures here! I too am not the “stirring risotto” type. Have you tried a baked version (done in the oven?).

  7. I love the color of this risotto and love the idea of making a risotto in a microwave, will definitely be trying that time-saving trick.

  8. Norma says:

    I love risotto and pesto…great combination and the fish looks so tasty with the lemon and capers……..

  9. Patty says:

    Great site! I have had a serious craving for some pesto, so this recipe for pesto pea risotto looks awesome to me.

  10. Juliana says:

    Oh! Risotto made in a microwave, I definitely have to try it! And the mackerel looks yummie as well :-)

  11. I made a baked risotto the other day which I guess technically is not a risotto in the true sense of the word but still all the falvours were there and the rice cooked perfectly:D Just another choice.

  12. I am a huge fan of risotto–and I love to make it with pesto. It seems to take forever, and since I just spent the day clearing out the basil in my garden and turning it into pesto–cooking risotto in a microwave is quite appealing :) Thanks for posting this!

  13. Pam says:

    What a delicious looking risotto – love the color.

  14. Peter says:

    The colour of the risotto is so brilliant but I’m agog at your mackeral…artichoke, lemon and capers? Sign me up!

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