Pesto Rice Salad

Vegetarians might like to know that a vegetarian 'parmesan-style' cheese is available from Bookhams

Serves 4

This recipe is taken from Delia Smith’s Summer Collection.

Pesto Rice Salad
 Italian Arborio rice measured to the 110ml level in a glass measuring jug
 225ml boiling vegetable stock
 a few fresh basil leaves
 2 spring onions, finely chopped
 15g Parmigiano Reggiano shavings (made with a potato peeler)
 salt and freshly milled black pepper
For the pesto sauce:
 25g fresh basil leaves
 1 small clove garlic, crushed
 1 level dessertspoon pine nuts
 3 tablespoons (60ml) extra virgin olive oil
 15g Pecorino Romano, grated
Equipment: You will also need a Little Gem frying pan or similar with a base measurement of 17cm and a tight-fitting lid.


To make the pesto sauce, place the basil, garlic, pine nuts and olive oil together with some salt in a mini-chopper and whizz, then push any unblended basil leaves down with a spatula and whizz again until you have a smooth purée.

Then transfer the purée to a bowl and stir in the grated Pecorino Romano cheese.

If you don't have a mini-chopper, you can use a large pestle and mortar to pound the basil, garlic and pine nuts to a paste.

Slowly add the salt and cheese, then very gradually add the oil until you have obtained a smooth purée.

Now add about one quarter of the pesto sauce to the rice in the measuring jug, and stir it around to coat all the grains.

Tip the mixture into a shallow saucepan or frying pan with a lid and pour the boiling stock into the jug, then pour this over the rice.

Now turn on the heat and stir with a wooden spoon, adding 1 level teaspoon of salt.

Then, when it begins to boil, put the lid on, turn the heat down to low, and let the rice cook for exactly 20 minutes.

As soon as it's ready, tip all the rice into a serving bowl, then simply pour in the remaining pesto sauce.

Combine the ingredients together, stirring and tossing. At this stage taste and season with salt and pepper.

Finally scatter some torn basil leaves, finely chopped spring onion and then the shavings of Parmigiano Reggiano over the surface of the salad as a garnish.

If you want to serve the salad cold, add the fresh basil, spring onion and Parmigiano Reggiano just before serving.

If you want to make pesto a few days ahead - cover the surface with some cling film, making sure the cling film actually touches the surface of the sauce, and you can keep it in the fridge for a week.

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