Risotto and Cacao Nibs (but not together)

When I was brainstorming my list of 40 Things, there were quite a few cooking techniques I wanted to try.  I've always been intrigued by risotto- it fascinates me that, with the proper technique, you can coax rice to create its own sauce.  I saw a recipe for Risotto with Pesto and Peas in the April issue of Food Network Magazine and bought the ingredients the next time I was at the store. 

I usually don't measure or follow recipes when I cook, but I knew that good risotto requires proper technique.   So I actually measured and followed the directions carefully.


Well, sort of.  I made three changes.  I followed the recipe exactly to make the broth, then added the broth slowly, cup by cup, as directed.  Then, I made some changes.  I only added back about 10% of the leeks used to make the broth.  I used bacon instead of ham.  And I completely ignored the instructions about adding pesto.  Neither Steve nor Trevor is crazy about pesto, so instead of stirring in 3/4 cup, I added a few teaspoons on top.  

It was absolutely delicious!  But even though I love pesto, I actually preferred the bites without the pesto dollop.  So in the future, I'll be making this without the pesto. 

And because it doesn't merit a separate blog post, I'd like to announce that I have successfully tracked down and tried cacao nibs.
I've heard so much about them recently.  It took some work to find them (without resorting to paying shipping). 

First I tried them plain out of the bag - they are very crunchy and have a strong, deep chocolate flavor (but no sweetness).  They are bitter, but not in an unpleasant way.  I definitely liked them.  Steve and Trevor did not.  Next, we all tried them on chocolate ice cream.  I liked the crunch the cacao nibs added, but I didn't feel like they added positively to the flavor.  Neither Steve nor Trevor was interested in trying them in other applications, so I was the only one who tried them added to raspberry yogurt.  It was OK- again, the crunch was nice, but I liked the yogurt and the cacao nibs more separately than I did mixed together. 
Goals #14 and 15 accomplished!


  1. Awesome post Cindy!!! The dinner you made looks YUMMY!!!

  2. I've seen Rachael Ray make risotto a couple of times on 30 Minute Meals, and she makes it seem super easy. We cheat and buy the boxed risotto mixes, we love them. :)

  3. That dinner looks and sounds divine. Not so sure about the nibs!

  4. I love a good risotto and yours loooks delicious! Glad you got 2 more off your list!

  5. I've actually never eaten risotto. Now I want to make a 32 in 32 list! LOL


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