This ONE-PAN PestoRice is a whole meal-in-one recipe! We combine smoked chicken sausage with perfectly tender rice, loads of veggies, and finish it off with a basil pesto sauce. Everything bakes together in one pan (Yes, even uncooked rice!) and requires very little hands-on work.
PREP: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Very generously spray a glass or ceramic or glass 9x13-inch pan. Cut butter into 6 equal slices and set aside. Peel carrots, grate on large holes of grater, and measure to get 2 cups.
BAKE: Add the uncooked basmati rice to the prepared pan, along with chicken stock, grated carrots, all the seasonings, and salt & pepper to taste (I add 1-1/4 tsp salt & 1/2 tsp pepper). Stir with a wooden spoon until ingredients are incorporated and spread in one even layer. Add cut pieces of butter evenly on top. Cover the baking dish tightly with foil. Bake for 40 minutes. Meanwhile, dice chicken sausage into small pieces (we cut each sausage in half, half again, then into small pieces).
BAKEAGAIN: After 40 minutes, remove the foil (save foil -- just set aside for now). Don't mix the rice at all! Top evenly with sun-dried tomatoes and then diced sausage right on top. Place back in the oven, uncovered, and bake for another 15 minutes.
REST: Remove from the oven. Don't stir the rice. Top with the foil again and let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes. This is very important to avoid mushy rice!
ENJOY: After 10 minutes, add frozen peas on top. Gently mix everything together and lightly fluff rice with a fork. If desired, add fresh basil to taste. (We add 1/2 cup, ribboned.) Taste and add additional salt/pepper if needed. Gently stir basil through and then serve into bowls or plates. Add a generous scoop of basil pesto atop each bowl and gently mix in. Enjoy promptly!
Note 1: Rice: We tested this recipe with all different kinds of rice and the only one we found success with is basmatirice. Other grains of rice gave very inconsistent results -- ranging from very mushy to unevenly cooked (some hard grains/some mushy).Note 2: Chicken stock: The stock is very important to flavor -- use a full-bodied (not low sodium) stock. We love Swanson's stock best.Note 3: Carrots: This is about 2 medium-large carrots. Avoid packaged pre-shredded carrots; they are hard, dry, and far less flavorful. When you grate your own carrots you’ll notice how much more moisture the carrots have which is a must for the recipe to properly work.Note 4: Sun-dried tomatoes: Use the tomatoes packed in oil — those have the most flavor! While they’re generally pretty small as is, give them a quick coarse chop (or cut with sharp kitchen shears) to ensure they’ll make it into every bite of this Pesto Rice.Note 5: Pesto: I recommend getting refrigerated, freshly-made basil pesto, which you can find near refrigerated fresh pasta and gourmet cheese. Rana’s® Basil Pesto is our personal favorite store-bought pesto sauce.