Risotto al Basilico

This basil risotto was inspired by a similar risotto we got at a recent dinner at restaurant Bussia in Amsterdam. Their version was lighter and greener, but this was just as delicious. The lighter and greener style may in part have been to blanching the basil leaves to set the color and lighten the taste, something I did not do and may try next time.


For 2 servings

130 grams (2/3 cup) risotto rice

1 bunch fresh basil (about 50 grams/2 oz)

1 small onion, chopped

5 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 glass (100 ml) dry white wine

6 cherry tomatoes

6 Tbsp freshly grated parmigiano reggiano

salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the stock

450 grams (1 pound) mixed vegetables or vegetable scraps for vegetable stock such as carrots, onions, celery, fennel

piece of parmigiano rind

some black peppercorns

2 Tbsp olive oil


Take the basil leaves of the stalks and coarsely chop the stalks.

Chop the vegetables for the stock. I like to use the food processor for this. Chopping the vegetables speeds up the extraction of flavor for the stock. There is no need to peel the onion first.

Sauté the chopped vegetables in olive oil until golden for additional flavor in your stock.

Add about 750 ml (3 cups) cold water, basil stalks, pepper corns, and parmigiano rind, and bring to a boil. Let simmer for an hour. Sieve to obtain about 500 ml (2 cups) basil-vegetable stock. Season lightly with salt.

Preheat the oven to 175C/350F. Toss cherry tomatoes with 1 Tbsp olive oil in a small baking dish.

Roast cherry tomatoes for 15 minutes at 175C/350F until wrinkled. Let cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile, put the basil leaves in a blender with 2 Tbsp olive oil.

Blend on low to medium speed until finely chopped but not pureed.

As soon as the stock is ready, keep it simmering. Sauté the onion in 2 Tbsp olive oil until translucent.

Add the rice and toast until the edges are translucent and the rice is very hot.

Add white wine and stir until most has been absorbed or evaporated.

Add simmering vegetable stock one ladle at a time and keep stirring the rice over medium heat until you have used up all the stock and the rice is al dente, 16 to 18 minutes. You can use hot water if you run out of stock before the rice is cooked to your liking.

Off the heat, add the basil and about 4 Tbsp freshly grated parmigiano.

Stir to mix until well blended.

Serve on warm plates with the cherry tomatoes. Sprinkle with remaining grated parmigiano.


16 thoughts on “Risotto al Basilico

  1. That looks delicious, I’m going to make it tomorrow. Still trying to decide whether to spend the additional 15 seconds blanching the basil first for the color. 🙂


  2. This is a new risotto for me, Stefan, though I have made a pesto risotto before. I’d love to give this one a try and do it soon. There’s plenty of fresh basil at out farmers markets right now, just waiting to be used in a delicious dish like yours here.


    1. The difference is only pine nuts and garlic (and perhaps pecorino). I wasn’t decided on whether it would be basil risotto or pesto risotto and decided at the last minute to go with the simpler option first. I’ll try pesto next time.


  3. I love this because not only does it look delicious, it gives me something to do with my basil besides make pesto! I want to like pesto more than I do, but the uncooked garlic is not my friend. This seems like a great alternative!


    1. Great to hear!

      As for the uncooked garlic, I’m with you there. What you could do is use less (I usually only use half of a smallish clove) and let it rest in the fridge for 24 hours before using. The flavors will then blend much better and there will be less of a raw garlic taste.


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