Thursday 25 June 2015

Steel Cut Oats and Basil Pesto "Risotto"

Risotto is traditionally a rice dish.  But it seems in the modern culinary world, it has become more of a style of cooking - liquid or broth slowly absorbed by some form of grain to create a creamy texture.  As much as I love the use of the common arborio rice, I've also enjoyed risotto made with barley - seems a bit healthier to me (I've listed some of my other risotto recipes at the end of this post).

Since my recent introduction to the world of "overnight oatmeal", I now have a huge bag of steel cut oats.  I thought I ought to come up with other uses for it.  Hence, this trial recipe using steel cut oats to make a "risotto".  Result: awesome!  It reminds me of a non-asian version of congee.

And I am now already harvesting lots of fresh basil from the garden and still have a couple of jars of pesto in the freezer from last year.  This seemed like a good opportunity to use it up!

1 shallot, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 cup steel cut oats
1/2 cup white wine
3-4 cups of veggie broth, warmed on stove
3 Tbsp basil pesto* (homemade or store-purchased)
2 oz goat cheese

Saute the shallot and garlic in a saute pan with 1 Tbsp olive oil.  When softened, add in the oats and stir about 1-2 minutes to coat.  Add the wine, stir and cook about 2 minutes to release some of the alcohol from the wine and start the oats absorbing liquid.

On medium-low heat, add 1/2 cup of veggie broth at a time - stir to mix, then let sit while the liquid is absorbed.   After 1 cup has been added, stir in the basil pesto and goat cheese.  Continue adding the broth until the oats are tender and creamy.  Note: it will likely be a creamy texture before fully cooked so will continue to absorb the liquid - that means leftovers might get a bit stiff so just reheat with extra liquid.

* This recipe is simple and you can add any flavours you want including various types of pesto, or leave off the pesto and just add some veggies. So many options!  And here are some others for consideration which can alternately be made with regular arborio rice, barley or steel cut oats:

Avocado Barley Risotto

Beetroot Risotto

Butternut Squash Risotto

Mushroom Barley Risotto


  1. We love steel cut oats in our house - it would never have occurred to me to make a savoury dish from them. Now if only my basil would size up so that I can get an actual harvest from it!

    1. Yes I hope you get some good basil this year, I couldn't imagine summer without it!