Pesto Risotto Stuffed Peppers.
We are in love with these pesto risotto stuffed peppers! Creamy, parmesan risotto laced with classic basil pesto, stuffed in sweet bell peppers and roasted until perfect. Cozy, comforting summer food!
These stuffed summer peppers are cheesy and herby and everything you want a delicious summer dinner to be.
Creamy parmesan risotto with lots of fresh basil pesto is loaded into halved bell peppers, then topped with cheese and baked until the peppers because little warm boats of love. These are divine.
The risotto stuffed pepper is not a new thing here! In fact, I made these peppers by accident one day for dinner, because I didn’t have all the ingredients I wanted for my other recipe. I was blown away at how simply delicious they were, and even though it feels a little cop-out-ish, I knew I had to share. You are going to love them.
Because here’s the thing!
I was inspired to make these peppers because of how much we all LOVE my summer risotto stuffed peppers. They are a staple meal during this warm season – and bring a cozy, comforting vibe when certain grilled and uncooked dishes do not. You know? Those peppers are incredibly satisfying and delicious and surprisingly good for a make-ahead meal prep dish. They are filled with corn and zucchini, but you really could add in any summer vegetables that you enjoy.
So, pesto risotto peppers it is!
These peppers are slightly less substantial – they are more cheesy, creamy risotto instead of all the summer produce. They are an excellent side dish or could be your main dish with a big summer salad on the side. You can make a big pan of them for the week ahead and use them for lunches with a greens salad or as side dishes with dinner.
And my favorite way to make these is with LEFTOVER risotto! It makes it super easy and fast, especially if you want to prepare these on a weeknight. You do lose a bit of that hydrated creaminess that risotto is known for, but the texture and flavor is still there, big time.
To make these, I do a super classic version of risotto here. I use arborio rice, chicken stock and white wine, plus lots of parmesan cheese. Risotto is intimidating at first, but once you make it a few times, it’s simple. You know the drill, how it works. And I’ve said this many times in my recipes before, but risotto is all about how the rice feels as it cooks. Yes, feels!
No, I don’t want you to put your hands in the pot and pick up scoops of hot risotto, but you will learn how the rice feels against your spatula or wooden spoon as it cooks, when it’s hydrated enough and when to add more liquid. Of course, I will add the instructions in the recipe below too. But once you do it a few times, you certainly get a good feel for it and it makes this entire process very simple.
When my risotto is almost finished, I stir in a lot of pesto.
In the summer I like to use fresh pesto. In the winter, I am not above using a good jarred pesto if I can find it. And while I like to do a traditional basil pesto with this recipe, the sky is the limit. Arugula, kale, sun dried tomato – all of these pesto varieties will work. I just suggest tasting your risotto after you add the pesto, and making sure it’s perfect before add it to the peppers.
As for the peppers, I like to do my stuffed pepper hack here while I make the risotto.
I slice the peppers and remove the seeds and stems, then I do a little pre-roast on them. I talk about this more in my taco stuffed pepper recipe, but I find that this makes the peppers more caramely, sweet and deliciously roasted. If you don’t roast them a bit before, it’s fine. But they won’t be as tender without drying out the filling. A little pre-roast is key!
I like to cover these with some mozzarella and parmesan and maybe even a little extra dollop of pesto. I can’t even explain how wonderful they are! A big taste of summer in this cute little peppers. It’s everything I want at dinner!
Pesto Risotto Stuffed Peppers
Pesto Risotto Stuffed Peppers
- 3 bell peppers, I like to use red, orange or yellow
- kosher salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cup arborio rice
- ¼ cup dry white wine
- 2 ½ cups chicken or vegetable stock, plus a little more in case it needs hydrated
- ½ cup finely grated parmesan cheese, plus extra for sprinkling
- ½ cup your favorite pesto, plus more for drizzling
- 1 cup freshly grated mozzarella cheese
- fresh basil, for topping
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Slice the bell peppers in half lengthwise and remove the stems and seeds.
- Place the peppers on a baking sheet and brush or spray them with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Sprinkle all over with salt and pepper. Once the oven hits 425 degrees F, roast the peppers for 15 minutes.
- Heat a saucepan over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add in the garlic with a pinch of salt and cook for 30 seconds. Add in the rice and cook, toasting it for 1 to 2 minutes. Add in the wine and cook for 2 minutes. Pour in the broth and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes, adding a bit more stock if the rice seems to be drying out. Stir in the parmesan cheese and pesto until it’s combined.
- Scoop the risotto mixture inside each pepper. Top with an extra drizzle of pesto if you love it. Top with mozzarella cheese.
- Bake the peppers for 20 minutes, until the cheese is melty and golden. Remove the top with extra parmesan cheese, fresh basil and serve!
Best way to eat some greens!