Pesto Risotto

The other day I walked out to my car to go to work, and I could see my breath in a cold in front of me. My car told me it was 6 degrees Celsius – in June. Yes, we’re coming in to winter, but we’re not there yet, and I’m not prepared. Don’t get me wrong, winter is my favourite season of the year, but I need to ease into it to fully enjoy its wonders. The jeans, boots and woolly jumpers, blankets on the couch to snuggle in to in front of a movie, hot chocolate and endless cups of tea, and hearty filling dinners like this low FODMAP pesto risotto.

I don’t know if it’s only Masterchef viewers who feel like risotto is such a difficult dish to make, but it really doesn’t have to be too complicated. There are only a few things to remember:

Firstly, toast your rice in a splash of olive oil at the start of cooking. I find this adds depth of flavour but also means your risotto will be less gluggy.

Secondly, make sure your stock is hot when you’re adding it to your saucepan, and add it gradually. The key to creating a risotto with good texture and even cooking is to make sure your rice stays around the same temperature for the whole time. This means if you add cold stock, your temperature will be continuously dropping, and if you add all your stock at once, it will take longer for it to get up to the same temperature you started with.

If you remember those two key things, you’ll be surprised how simple this low FODMAP pesto risotto is! Once you’ve got your risotto base nailed, you can customise the flavour to be anything your heart desires. If you’re a risotto fan, you’ll probably also enjoy my Roast Vegetable Risotto.

Pesto Risotto

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Servings 4 servings


  • 1 handful baby spinach
  • 1 small handful basil
  • 2 tbsp pine nuts
  • 10 walnuts
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 20 grams parmesan
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 200 grams chicken breast
  • 4 rashers short cut bacon
  • 1.5 cups arborio rice
  • 3 cups low FODMAP chicken or vegetable stock


  1. Combine spinach, basic, pine nuts, walnuts, lemon juice, parmesan and olive oil in a high speech blender to make your pesto. Set this aside for later.

  2. In a deep saucepan, brown your chicken and bacon and then turn down the heat slightly and continue cooking until the chicken is no longer pink.

  3. Once cooked, set aside the chicken and the bacon, and without cleaning it, add a splash of olive oil to the pan and return it to low heat.

  4. Add your arborio rice to the saucepan and stir continuously for 5 minutes or so in the oil to toast the rice.

  5. Meanwhile, heat your chicken or vegetable stock in the microwave until it is hot.

  6. Once your rice is toasted, add your stock in 1/2 cup increments and stir until the rice has absorbed all the liquid.

  7. When all your stock has been added, taste test your rice to ensure it is cooked. If not, add some hot water to the pot to continue cooking.

  8. Once your rice is cooked, add your pesto, chicken and bacon into the saucepan and stir until everything is well incorporated.

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