Leek and Fennel Risotto

Written by Karen on April 25th, 2011

One of the many advantages to living in Northern California, is having access to a wide variety of produce based on the seasons. I mean, that’s what we’re here for, right?  Farm fresh, flavorful, colorful, and uber nutritious. This past week at the farmers’ market I was hard pressed not to buy everything in sight but I settled on fennel and leeks which made for a lovely risotto.

The great thing about risottos is their versatility.  You can use almost any vegetable in combination with others, as well as herbs.  I have tried asparagus with thyme; baby artichoke with oregano; and now leek and fennel with parsley.  And because our lemons are still ripening (!), I always make sure to add a little zest to make the flavors really pop.

My preferred grain to pair with most veggies is farro, an ancient form of wheat.  It’s nutty and chewy and offers a multitude of nutrients beyond the traditional white arborio. In this case, however, the farro would be a bit overpowering for the more delicate nature of it’s accompaniments.  I’d love to hear what your favorite risotto ingredients are, too.

Leek and Fennel Risotto – Serves 4

Fennel is high in vitamin C, potassium and fiber.  It is great for digestion and soothing the stomach.  Leeks help lower cholesterol and parsley is packed with chlorophyll and calcium.

3 cups chicken broth (or vegetable stock)
1 large fennel bulb. sliced about 1/4″ thick and coarsely chopped
1 large leek, cleaned and chopped
4 tablespoons unsalted butter or ghee, divided
1 1/4 cups Arborio rice
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
1/4 cup grated Parmesan (or goat cheese for creamy texture)
2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
Pepper to taste

1. Bring  broth to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Keep warm, covered.
2. Cook fennel and leek in 2 tablespoons butter with 1/4 teaspoon salt in a Dutch-oven or4-quart heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes.
3. Add rice and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Add wine and simmer, stirring constantly, until absorbed.
4. Stir in 1/2 cup broth mixture and simmer, stirring frequently, until absorbed. Continue adding broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring frequently and letting each addition be absorbed before adding the next, until rice is creamy and tender, about 18 minutes.
5. Stir in leek and fennel, zest, remaining 2 tablespoons butter, parmesan, and pepper to taste.  Garnish with chopped parsley.


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5 Comments so far ↓

  1. Apr
    25
    5:03
    PM
    Elena

    Thank you for the recipe. I am confused though if leek and fennel are cooked seperately or together with rice ? Thank you.

  2. Apr
    25
    5:07
    PM
    Karen

    Elena – cook the fennel and leek together first, than add the rice. Let me know how you like it!

  3. Apr
    26
    7:10
    AM
    Amy, The Family Chef

    Post trip to Italy, I’m making one today with fennel, sausage and arugula! I’m already drooling.

  4. Apr
    26
    8:05
    AM
    Karen

    Yum! Please report back!
    Karen´s last [type] ..Leek and Fennel Risotto

  5. Jan
    27
    8:50
    PM
    agapieco@gmail.com

    Terrific work! That is the kind of information that are supposed to be shared across the web. Disgrace on Google for no longer positioning this put up upper! Come on over and discuss with my site . Thanks =)

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