Risotto with Herb Pesto, Potato, and Green Beans

risotto with herb pesto potato and green beans
Photo: Marcus Nilsson
Prep Time:
1 hrs
Total Time:
1 hrs 15 mins

Pesto and potatoes are traditionally tossed with a short, twisty pasta called trofie in the Liguria region of Italy. Stirring them into risotto is a revelation, especially as the weather cools and you want something cozier for dinner. You might be surprised by the blend of potato and rice in the recipe but give it a minute. The cut-up spud has an initial firmness that gives way to lusciousness, and is the perfect complement to the silky carnaroli rice.


  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts or walnuts, toasted

  • 1 small clove garlic

  • 4 cups packed fresh basil leaves

  • 1 cup packed fresh parsley leaves

  • Kosher salt (we use Diamond Crystal) and freshly ground pepper

  • cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, and more for drizzling

  • 8 ounces green beans, cut into ½-inch pieces (2 cups)

  • 1 Yukon Gold potato, peeled and cut into ½-inch pieces (1 ½ cups)

  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth or water

  • 1 small onion, finely chopped (1 cup)

  • 1 cup short-grain risotto rice, such as carnaroli or arborio

  • ¼ cup dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio

  • ½ ounce Parmigiano-Reggiano, finely grated (½ cup), plus more for serving


  1. Pulse pine nuts, garlic, and herbs in a food processor until finely chopped. Season with salt and pepper; with motor running, stream in 1/3 cup oil until combined. Season to taste.

  2. Bring a pot of water to a boil and season with salt. Add green beans and cook until tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Using a spider or slotted spoon, transfer to a plate. Add potato to pot and simmer until tender but not falling apart, about 6 minutes; drain.

  3. In same pot, combine broth, 2 cups water, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, then reduce heat to medium-low and maintain a bare simmer, partially covered (to avoid evaporation).

  4. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large straight-sided skillet over medium. Add onion and a pinch of salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add rice and cook, stirring, until translucent and grains begin to make a popping sound, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in wine; cook until mostly evaporated, about 30 seconds.

  5. Ladle about 1 cup broth mixture into skillet. Cook, stirring occasionally, until most of broth has been absorbed and bottom of skillet stays visible for a second or two as you mix, 2 to 3 minutes. Continue ladling broth into skillet, about 1/2 cup at a time (or enough to just cover rice), stirring often and allowing rice to absorb most of broth before adding more, 15 to 20 minutes. When rice is cooked through but still al dente and sauce has thickened, stir in 1/2 cup pesto, green beans, and potato; cook just until heated through, about 1 minute.

  6. Remove from heat and add cheese, a good drizzle of oil, and a few spoonfuls of remaining broth. Stir vigorously to create a silky sauce. Check seasoning and stir in more pesto, if desired. Serve with a drizzle of oil, topped with more cheese and pepper.

Cook's Notes

The pesto can be made up to three days ahead. Store it in an airtight container, topped with a thin layer of olive oil to keep the color vibrant.

Related Articles