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Lemon verbena chicken with grape risotto

Recipe by:Chef Jeff Rossman
Terra Bistro, San Diego


  • 4 boneless chicken breasts
  • Lemon verbena pesto
    1/2 cup fresh lemon verbena leaves
    1/2 cup fresh oregano leaves
    1/2 cup chopped walnuts
    2 garlic cloves
    1/2 cup olive oil
    1/2 cup parmesan
    1/2 tsp. kosher salt
    1/4 tsp. freshly cracked black pepper
  • Grape risotto
    1 tbsp. olive oil
    1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
    2 1/2 cups grape juice
    2 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
    3 tbsp. minced shallots
    2 tbsp. minced garlic
    3 tbsp. white wine
    1/3 cup unsalted butter
    2/3 cup parmesan cheese
    1 cup roughly chopped grapes
    Salt and pepper, to taste


For pesto: Place verbena, oregano, walnuts and garlic in a food processor and puree. Slowly add oil with the processor running until mixture thickens and emulsifies, about 1 minute, making sure to scrape down the sides as you go. Add remaining ingredients and continue to puree and scrape sides until fully incorporated. Set aside.

For chicken: As you're making the risotto, grill chicken until cooked through and internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.

For risotto: In a medium sauce pot, heat oil on medium heat and sauté rice for about 2 minutes. In a separate sauce pot on medium-high heat, bring grape juice and stock to a boil. Continue stirring rice until edges have turned translucent but center is still opaque, 2 to 3 minutes. You should also be able to smell the aroma of toasted rice. Add shallots and garlic, and continue to sauté for about 1 minute while continuously stirring. Deglaze with wine. When wine is completely reduced and pan is dry, reduce heat to medium-low and add hot liquid little by little (a ladle size) while continuously stirring. When rice is fully cooked, stir in butter, cheese and grapes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

To serve: Place a portion of risotto on a plate, top with chicken and finish with pesto.

Serves 4



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