Baked Pesto Risotto

I think it finally happened.

I am now…an adult?

As of Wednesday of this week, I think I’m  officially a grown up.

Three very big things happened that caused this shift.

1. Nick and I took our taxes to be done by someone who actually knows what they’re doing. Why did we wait this long? And thank the Lord for making people who like math. I am not one of them.

2. I went into Talbots…and actually bought clothes. I know! I was NOT expecting to like anything, but I am now obsessed. I’ve been looking for the perfect navy cigarette pants for forever and I found them, right there, on the Talbots sale rack, just waiting for me. They also had one pair of skinny ankle jeans I’d been wanting and a fantastic pink and white striped shirt. Transition complete. All on sale, plus some extra sale, and even more for signing up for their email.

3. For the first time in my life, I bought lottery tickets. Yeah, yeah. I know buying 5 tickets isn’t much of a chance to win when the odds are 1 in 6 million or something, but still. If you don’t play, you don’t win. I’m trying to keep myself from dreaming up all the scenarios of what I would do first with my winnings.

First, I would pay off our school loans and our house. Then I would pay off any other houses or school loans in my family. Then I would quit my job. And then Nick and I would go on the craziest vacation ever and see every place we’ve ever wanted to see.

And then…I guess I would do whatever I wanted. If you win almost 500 million bucks, that’s about what would happen, right?

Oh, and I would also buy a bundt pan because I don’t have one. Oh! And a food processor.

Adults should have food processors, right?

I feel like risotto is such a grown up dish.

Maybe it’s because I never had it when I was younger. I didn’t even know what it was until I started obsessively watching the Food Network in college and heard Giada purring it through the tv screen.

I love a good, classic risotto (and really love making it with steel cut oats for sweet switch up), but this baked version is just as fancy and – bonus – you don’t have to stand at the stove top stirring nonstop.

Brown the meat, add the veggies and rice, and bake it for an hour. That’s it!

Creamy dreamy.

Bakes Pesto Risotto

Makes: 4 servings


  • 3/4 pound Italian sausage
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup brown rice (not quick cooking)
  • 2 Tbsp pesto
  • 1 cup green peas
  • 3 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • parmesan, for topping


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Put an oven safe cast iron pan over medium heat or, if you don’t have an oven safe pan, use your favorite heavy bottom pan on the stove top.
  3. Crumble the sausage into the hot pan and cook, stirring every few minutes, until the sausage is mostly cooked through and beginning to brown.
  4. Stir in the diced onion and minced garlic. Cook with the sausage for 5 minutes until the onions begin to soften.
  5. Pour in your brown rice and mix together with the sausage and onion mixture. Let this cook for 4-5 minutes to lightly heat the rice and absorb some of the flavor.
  6. Mix the pesto, green peas, broth, salt, and pepper into the pan. Remove it from the heat.
  7. Put a lid on your pan (or move the mixture to an oven safe dish and cover) and bake at 375 for 50-60 minutes. The risotto will be ready when the broth is absorbed and the rice is tender and fluffy.
  8. Stir in some parmesan before serving.


Not sure if you guys have seen this, but Johnsonville is holding an Italian Inspirations Recipe Contest through 4/1, so you have a few more days to enter. I entered this into the contest – and am crossing my fingers, especially if I don’t win the lottery this Friday.

The grand prize is a trip to Italy! Sign me up.



  1. I love Talbots!!! Every time I go in there I want to buy about eighty seven things! lol

  2. looks awesome, brandi + it does sound like you’re all grown up now! =)

  3. I do love the process of making a risotto on the stove but often I just don’t have the time and need to be doing other things so this looks like such a perfect compromise.

    PS I need some cigarette pants like that!

  4. i love how creamy this is and how easy it is to make! and you know me, I love pesto! what a great combination. I need to go shop at talbots more, i always go to LOFT for my work clothes but it seems like you snagged up some pretty cute things at talbots! i shall go check it out :) i need some cigarette pants too!

  5. looks delicious! i need to buy some lottery tix today too, holy cow that jackpot is ridiculous! odds are 1 in 175 million they say… but someone’s gotta be that lucky one, right? ;)

  6. This looks awesome and so easy! And seriously, who are these people who like math??? I just can’t wrap my brain around it.


  8. Haha, I bought my first lotto ticket this week too!!! $360 million, who wouldn’t?! And I am def planning on buying another ticket today/ tomorrow since it’s now up to $500 million… Feeling lucky :P

  9. hope you win that lottery Brandi! this risotto looks fabulous. i love pesto.

  10. Wow that would be so amazing to win the lottery! I too would start by paying off my student loans and any outstanding bills for my family. And then I’d start booking a vacation around the world- Greece, Italy, France, Australia, Brazil… I’d go all over the place! Ah such a nice dream. This risotto also looks like a dream! It’s one of my absolute favorite things so this look fantastic! I don’t eat sausage though- do you think I could sub ground turkey?

  11. Great recipe! Unfortunately I have been an adult now for way too long…lol.

  12. LOVE that this is baked, and a full meal in one dish!

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