Sun-Dried-Tomato Pesto

1 1⁄4 cup sun-dried tomatoes (use the type sold in oil)
1⁄3 cup pine nuts
8 fresh basil leaves
1–2 anchovy filets (optional)
1 pinch cayenne pepper
3 large garlic cloves, peeled
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Drain oil from tomatoes and reserve for risotto. Smoke 1⁄2 cup tomatoes over mesquite (low heat) for 10 minutes (or heat a dry skillet until it smokes; toss tomatoes on it until skins are dark brown).

Place first 6 ingredients in food processor and slowly add olive oil while puréeing to a creamy consistency. Set aside.


1⁄2 cup oil from sun-dried tomatoes
1 cup finely chopped yellow onion
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
2 pinches cayenne pepper
1⁄2 pound arborio rice
1⁄2 cup dry Chardonnay
4 cups chicken broth, approximately

In 4-quart casserole, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, and cayenne, cooking until limp. Stir in rice until grains are coated. Add wine and then broth 1⁄2 cup at a time, stirring until absorbed each time. Rice should have a creamy consistency (neither runny nor dry) and should double in volume. Reduce heat and cook 15 more minutes, the last 5 covered.

If rice is not to be used immediately, spread on buttered sheet pan and refrigerate. Reserve 11⁄2 cups broth to reheat rice.

Crayfish Tails

12–16 ounces crayfish tails (use cooked kind)

Toss with 2 tablespoons of tomato pesto and sauté in skillet over medium heat for 1 or 2 minutes. Reserve 6 tablespoons pesto for presentation; add rest of pesto and crayfish to risotto.


2–21⁄2 pounds red snapper filets

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly sear both sides of fish in hot skillet in 1 tablespoon oil. Place filets in ovenproof pan and cook until opaque, 3–8 minutes.

To serve, spread risotto on warm plate, place fish in center, spoon some pesto over fish, garnish with steamed asparagus, scallions, and Parmesan cheese. Serves 6.