The weather is FINALLY getting beautiful here, so I wanted a meal that I could eat out on my porch with some prosecco . . . Via Rachel Roddy.
- 1 large fennel bulb (about 400g)
- 2 litres vegetable or light chicken stock, or make your own as described below [1 1/2-2 quarts]
- 75g cold butter [5 tablespoons-ish]
- 1 small white onion, or 2 shallots, chopped
- 320g risotto rice, ideally carnaroli or vialone nano [about 1 1/2 cups]
- 125ml dry white wine [about 1/2 cup]
- Zest of a small, unwaxed lemon
- 60g parmesan, grated [around 1/2 cup]
- A pinch of salt
- Trim the fennel bulb, removing the thicker outer layer and finger-like stalks and setting aside any feathery fronds for decoration. To make a stock: put these trimmings, along with other vegetables and 2 litres of water, in a pot, bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer for 40 minutes. Strain, then return to the saucepan. Set aside on the back of the stove.
- Slice the trimmed bulb of fennel into slim arcs.
- In a large, deep frying pan or heavy saucepan, melt half the butter over a medium heat, then gently fry the onion and fennel with a pinch of salt, until soft and translucent. [5-10 mins]
- Add the rice, stirring until every grain glistens and is heated through [1-2 mins].
- Add the wine, which should whoosh as it hits the pan, then stir until it has been absorbed. [1-2 mins].
- Start adding stock a ladle-ful at a time, stirring firmly and allowing it to be absorbed before adding the next. The process will take about 16 minutes. Taste the rice: it is cooked when it is tender, but still with bite, and the risotto is still loose and rippling as opposed to stiff.
- Turn off the heat, add the rest of the butter, the cheese and lemon zest. Cover the pan. Let it sit for 1 minute, then beat vigorously until the risotto is creamy and glossy.
- Taste and add salt, if you think it needs it. Divide between plates, decorating with fennel fronds, and a little lemon zest if you wish.