Ah, risotto. All that creamy rice and meltingly soft veggies and mmm mmm mmm. AND it’s easy to make. Hurrah!
We really like risotto in this house. I probably make it at least once a month. So, this fennel risotto is, quite literally, the flavour of the month.
Annoyingly, the photos I took of this dish don’t really do it justice. Mostly because I just wanted to get myself outside it, not fanny about arranging it beautifully so I could capture its likeness. Sorry. You’ll have to take my word for it that the deliciousness is much greater than can be observed. Apologies again.
I used baby fennel, but you could substitute regular fennel without too much trouble – just cut it into small pieces. (The baby fennel merely requires slicing.) If you really like the aniseed taste A LOT, you can try adding a splash of Pernod or similar (bleeeuurgh) and bubbling it down, before you start adding the stock. I like my fennel flavour subtle, so I won’t be doing that, but I leave it to your discretion.
The buttered baby courgettes are fabulous with the risotto but would also be a tasty, quick and attractive vegetable side dish with just about anything. As Julia Child said, “With enough butter, anything is good.” And these little courgettes were pretty good to start with 🙂
If you don’t have baby courgettes, cutting normal-sized ones into cm-thick diagonal slices would give an acceptable result, I expect.
This made enough risotto for 2 adults, one pre-schooler, and a little bit leftover. Probably 2-3 adults, depending on the size of your appetite.
- 1 medium onion
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 150g baby fennel (or 'grown up' fennel)
- 150g arborio rice
- 500ml hot vegetable stock
- 2tbsp chopped parsley + extra to garnish
- Juice of half a lemon
- 200g baby courgettes
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- Peel and finely chop the onion. Heat the oil over a medium heat in a heavy based saucepan and sauté the onion, stirring occasionally, for a few minutes until it softens.
- Slice the baby fennel thinly and add to the pan. Continue to cook for 2-3 minutes more.
- Add the rice and stir well to coat with the oil. Add half the stock, stir well and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the stock is almost all absorbed.
- Add half the remaining stock and stir well. Continue to simmer until the liquid is absorbed, then add the rest of the stock to the pan. Stir well and cook until all the stock is absorbed and the rice is cooked.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the parsley and lemon juice. Cover and set aside while you cook the courgettes.
- Trim the ends from the baby courgettes, and cut each one in half lengthways.
- Heat the butter and oil in a frying pan. When the butter is melted and foamy, add the courgettes. Cook, turning occasionally, for 3-5 minutes, until soft, browning, and cooked through.
- Serve the risotto sprinkled with extra parsley, and with the buttered courgettes alongside.