Savory Toasted Oat Pesto Chicken Risotto

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I’ve just gotta know one thing guys……

Savory Toasted Oat Pesto Chicken Risotto (4) Who decided that waffles, pancakes, toast, and etc. were going to be strictly categorized as “breakfast” foods, huh? Like, I’ve always wondered what’s up with this outrageousness? 

Savory Toasted Oat Pesto Chicken Risotto (2) I’ve got a strong hunch that whoever did it was the same poor, clueless soul who thought casting Tobey Maguire as spiderman alongside Franco made sense in any universe (was I the only one who grew up thinking that clearly there was a casting list mix-up here?). I’m also pretty sure that said dude was in league with whoever it is that’s been allowing fashion police everywhere to dictate when you can wear the whites in your closet for over a century based on a holiday no one really celebrates. Just sayin’.

Savory Toasted Oat Pesto Chicken Risotto (3) Okay yes, I did make oatmeal for dinner, and yes, that means this is not technically “risotto”, but guess what? It’s way better than you’d think! Don’t judge.

Savory Toasted Oat Pesto Chicken Risotto (8) Oh, in other recent news from my speck on the globe, volcanoes……! Do most of you already know that I have a few of them in my backyard, and also that they’re active ones? Fine, so they’re not actually in the yard but they are very visible from our house and so tall that they feel way closer than they really are. I mean, there is kind of a lake between us so we’re a pretty safe distance.

Savory Toasted Oat Pesto Chicken Risotto (6) What I was saying though, I don’t think even the experts can predict what’s up with them right now but over the last few days the two closest ones have been steaming/fuming?/puffing? Whatever you want to call it, there is some obvious activity going on with them and there’s no telling when one might want to blow its top. Am I crazy to be so excited at that prospect? I know it presents a lot of inconvenience for those that live closer, but seriously, it’s not like they didn’t know that they were building near a rather HUGE mountain with a tendency of exploding.

Savory Toasted Oat Pesto Chicken Risotto (5) Of course, Osorno is such a beautiful, perfect shape that it would be a shame for it to get messed up, but it hasn’t erupted since 1869 so it’s got to be getting pretty restless. Calbuco already erupted last year, check it out! I’ve never experienced anything like it, so awesome!

Savory Toasted Oat Pesto Chicken Risotto (7) Wow, I’ve wandered pretty far from my original subject here, sorry about that. Hey, compared to lava and ash I think oatmeal for dinner should seem pretty tame now though, right? I was really surprised by how well it turned out and it cooks even faster than rice.

Savory Toasted Oat Pesto Chicken Risotto (11) For the pesto I used a recipe that I love, which I usually refer to as ‘poor man’s pesto’ because it’s on the cheaper side of things where pestos are concerned and you use walnuts instead of pine nuts. Feel free to use your own pesto recipe or even a good brand from the store if you’ve already got it. You really can’t go wrong with pesto, I could probably drink the stuff, really! FYI, it’s nice to have it made ahead for whenever you get the craving.

Savory Toasted Oat Pesto Chicken Risotto. So making this is really simple (especially if you’ve already got your pesto in the fridge) and even better, it’s all done in only ONE pot, Yay-yuh! You start by toasting the oats with some butter until your kitchen smells like movie theater popcorn and then you start adding broth, milk, and a few other things while steadily stirring it up. When it’s done you finish it off with some chicken, cheese, and of course pesto and that’s basically it. Presto pesto, you’ve got oats for dinner!

Savory Toasted Oat Pesto Chicken Risotto (9) By the way, you know that little quote about a rose by any other name? Well it’s so true and I prove it all the time. For the kiddos that I thought would be weirded out to know they were having oatmeal for dinner, I simply told them it was like a creamy rice and they happily devoured it.

Savory Toasted Oat Pesto Chicken Risotto (10)

Savory Toasted Oat Pesto Chicken Risotto

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 55 minutes

Yield: 8 servings


    Poor Man's Pesto:
  • 2/3 cup walnuts (you can also use a different nut such as almonds if desired)
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves, tightly packed
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • "Risotto":
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 1/2 cups rolled (old-fashioned) oats
  • 1 head of broccoli florets, roughly chopped
  • 3 tablespoons white wine
  • 1 lemon, juice and zest
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 7 cups chicken stock
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups cooked chicken, chopped (I like to use rotisserie chicken)
  • more salt & pepper to taste
  • extra parmesan cheese for serving if desired


    Poor Man's Pesto:
  1. Combine all ingredients in food processor or blender and pulse until nearly smooth. Store in an air-tight container and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks or freeze for up to 4 months.
  2. "Risotto":
  3. Heat butter in medium high-sided pan or dutch oven over medium high heat and add the oats. Stir constantly until browned and fragrant, about 5 minutes, then add broccoli and cook for 2 to 3 minutes more.
  4. Pour in wine, and lemon (juice and zest) and cook until liquid is mostly evaporated, about 2 minutes. Add salt and 2 cups of stock to pan. Reduce heat to medium low and cover for about 10 minutes, stirring halfway through, until broth is absorbed.
  5. Now uncover and start adding stock 1/2 cup at a time and stir gently while keeping heat about medium high. When the liquid is almost completely absorbed add another 1/2 cup. Continue adding stock until all has been added then start adding the milk until oatmeal is mostly soft, you can add a little more milk if needed.
  6. Reduce heat to low and stir in pesto and chicken and cover until heated through. Top with parmesan cheese and serve hot.

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