Red Risotto dotted with balsamic, fine dining risotto

Red Chilli Pesto Risotto (Risotto al Pesto Rosso Picante)

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 22 minutes
  • Total Time: 27 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6 as a starter and 4 as a main 1x


Red Chilli Pesto Risotto recipe. A rich, creamy and somewhat spicy risotto, perfect for cooler months. So easy to make!



  • 400g (2 cups) carnaroli rice (or any risotto rice you can get)
  • 1.5 litres (6 cups) chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 Tbsp salted butter
  • 2 Tbsp EV olive oil
  • 125ml (1/2) cup dry white wine (skip if you don’t do alcohol)
  • 250g (1 cup roughly) red chilli pesto
  • salt if needed
  • freshly ground black pepper

For finishing

  • 1 Tbsp EV olive oil

For garnishing

  • red chilli flakes
  • small mozzarella balls (about 3 per person) – optional
  • balsamic pearls (about 1/2 tsp per person) – optional


  1. Place your stock, or water plus stockpots on high heat. Once it’s boiling, lower the heat down and leave it to simmer happily.
  2. While waiting for the stock, chop the onion up finely.
  3. Heat the butter and olive oil on low heat and sauté the onions for 3 minutes, stirring. If your onions start to brown, lower the heat more or use a smaller hob.
  4. Add the rice and coat with all that fat, stirring well. Toast the rice for 3 more minutes, until the edges turn translucent.
  5. Increase the heat to medium and pour in the wine, stir, and leave to evaporate, stirring a little. Skip this step, if you don’t do alcohol.
  6. Add 1 cup of the simmering stock and stir gently. You can take a break, it doesn’t need to be round and round constantly, just regular stirring while the stock evaporates.
  7. When the stock has evaporated, add half a cup more of the stock, stir, and repeat this process for 12 minutes. Yes, watch the clock or put your kitchen timer on.
  8. Check the rice at the 12 minute mark. It should be just about done, depending on your rice, and the heat. Is it cooked – soft on the outside with just a bite in the middle? Is the risotto looking creamy, like a thick version of rice pudding? If it is, it’s done. If it’s not, add 1/4 cup stock, and stir. When that stock has been absorbed, check again. You shouldn’t really need to cook more than 15-17 minutes.
  9. When the rice is done, stir in the red chilli pesto and some freshly ground black pepper, and heat through for 30 seconds if at room temperature. If your pesto rosso was in the fridge, give it a full minute.
  10. Check seasoning, and add salt if you think it needs it.
  11. Turn the heat off, take the pan off the hot hob, and stir in the 1 Tbsp of olive oil. Leave to rest for 2 minutes.
  12. Dish up onto plates, sprinkle with some red chilli flakes and garnish the top of your risotto with mozzarella balls and balsamic pearls, if using. Serve immediately.

  • Category: Starter or Main Course
  • Cuisine: Italian