Risotto with Pistachios, Basil, Provola Cheese and Squid by Chef Viviana Varese


1 ½ cups Carnaroli or Arborio rice
4 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons white wine
4 ¼ cups vegetable stock
½ cup light basil pesto without garlic
4 teaspoons of cream of American pistachios (see bouquet)
¾ cup provola cheese
¼ pound squids


Toast the rice, add white wine and cook with the vegetable broth; when half cooked, add pesto, pistachios; then add provola until creamy. Steam the squid in nonstick pan.

Place rice into four bowls and garnish with a few salted pistachios, cubes of provola and squid.

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fun facts

Pistachios, when eaten with high-carbohydrate foods, may result in lower than expected blood sugar levels, an important factor in reducing risk of diabetes.

According to a Penn State University study, it is suggested that pistachios reduce the body's biological response to stress.

One serving of pistachios has as much potassium (300mg, 8%) as an orange (250mg, 7%).

Pistachios are high in phytosterols which may lower cholesterol levels and decrease the risk of heart disease. In animal studies phytosterols have been shown to potentially have anti-cancer properties.

One serving of pistachios is 49 nuts, more than any other tree nut.

Forty-nine pistachios serve up to 20 percent of your Daily Value of B6, about the same as half an avocado.

You can obtain more dietary fiber from a serving of pistachios (3g) than a 1/2 cup of cooked broccoli, and the same amount of dietary fiber as an orange or an apple — approximately 10 percent of the Daily Value.

Just a single serving of pistachios provides you with the same amount of protein in a one-ounce serving of soybeans and can serve as a protein alternative to meat, poultry or beans according to the USDA Food Guide Pyramid.

Pistachios are a naturally cholesterol-free snack and contain just 1.5 grams of saturated fat.

Celebrate the greatness of nuts! October 22 is National Nut Day and February 26 is National Pistachio Day!