Creamy Turkey Pesto Risotto



It’s another one of those recipes.  You know “the best laid plans”?

On my weekly menu, I had pesto noodles and meatballs - a household favorite.

I was digging in the freezer and found ground turkey first, so I decided the kids could deal with the slightly healthier option and brought it out to thaw.

Then, it came time to cook and I realized I didn’t have dry pasta in my pantry.


I pride myself on a well-stocked pantry, so this was horrifying!

I didn’t have the time or inclination to go to the store or make homemade pasta so I had to find some way to salvage this thing.

I post the weekly menu on the wall of my dining room (seriously, I got tired of the kids asking what’s for dinner so I started posting it), so I knew it has to be at least a little similar.

I decided to substitute medium grain rice for the pasta and see where it took me.  With the addition of parmesan cheese (a staple of the original recipe) and the starchiness of medium grain rice, the result was very risotto-like (though a true risotto is a fussy recipe that involves adding hot broth at regular intervals and a lot of stirring).

So I took a chance and called this risotto, knowing that it’s a cheat risotto, but it is  delicious, and isn’t that the goal?

Try these other delicious basil recipes:

Easy Turkey & Pesto Risotto

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 pound ground turkey

1 small onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

Black pepper

1 cup medium grain rice

2 cups chicken broth

2 cups milk

¼ cup grated parmesan cheese

⅓ cup prepared basil pesto

Heat the olive oil in a large lidded skillet over medium heat. Add the turkey and onion.  Cook, breaking up the turkey, until the onion is soft and turkey is cooked through.  Add the garlic, pepper, and rice and cook for another minute.  

Stir in the broth and milk and bring to a simmer.  Cover and cook for 30 minutes or until liquid is mostly absorbed and rice is tender.

Stir in the parmesan and basil pesto.  Heat through and serve.


  1. Ohh my, that must be so flavourful, a risotto loaded with basil pesto flavour. Lovely idea.