Fennel, Lemon and Pistachio​ Risotto

With half of our induction hobs and our oven out of order for about a month (grrr), I had to become quite creative in one pot cooking.

Luckily all is resolved now, but elaborate cooking was out of the question for way too long. This risotto was one of those one pot efforts and a nice one to break in my new risotto pan from Le Creuset I got on sale via their Dutch website.

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The 3-ply stainless steel and gradual slope of the wall of the pan (as you can see between a regular cooking pan and a saucepan) provide for amazing heat distribution and super easy stirring of the risotto. Despite its relatively small size, 24cm / 7″, it easily holds enough risotto for 6 persons and you can use the pan for regular cooking and sauteeing too, so well worth the investment!

I adapted a recipe found on the BBC Good Food website. When we tried it, I just doubled the quantities to serve four and ended up adding the original quantity of lemon zest. At the end, I sprinkled over a handful of chopped pistachio nuts at the end as it is a great combination with the aniseedy flavour from the fennel. As we felt that the wine taste was a bit too prominent, I swapped part of the white wine with vegetable stock in below recipe and would also recommend adding the wine in one go as you would then properly cook off the alcohol.

Below I have mentioned the cooking instructions from Good Food, but obviously, I needed to do things differently as I was “hob-impaired”. One saucepan was needed to heat the vegetable stock, so separate sauteeing of the sliced fennel whilst preparing the risotto was out of the question. Consequently, I ended up finely chop both fennel bulbs and started cooking them off together with half of the onions until softened. After setting the mixture aside, I starting the regular process of sweating off the onions, garlic and toasting the risotto rice. After incorporating the white wine and the first batch of stock, I returned the fennel to the pan and proceded to cook the risotto as usual. Either way, the recipe will turn out great.

The recipe (serves 4)

  • 2 large fennel bulbs, base trimmed
  • 3 tbsp butter, divided
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 280g / 9oz risotto rice
  • 250ml / 1 cup white wine
  • 625ml / 2½ cup hot vegetable stock
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 60g / 2oz Parmesan, grated
  1. Chop any green leafy fennel fronds and set aside for serving.
  2. Cut off the stalk-like fennel top, remove the outer layers and finely chop both.
  3. Heat 2 tbsp butter in a frying pan on medium heat and cook the onion, garlic and chopped fennel until soft but not coloured.
  4. Add the rice and stir for 1 minute. Then pour over almost all of the wine and simmer until evaporated.
  5. Add 500ml / 2 cups of hot stock, a ladleful at a time, stirring between each addition until it is absorbed.
  6. Meanwhile, slice the remaining fennel and fry in the remaining tbsp of butter until browned.
  7. Add remaining stock and wine and cook until tender.
  8. When the risotto rice is cooked, stir in the lemon zest, Parmesan and season to taste.
  9. Take off the heat and set aside, covered, for 2 minutes.
  10. Serve in bowls, topped with the reserved fennel fronds and cooked fennel (and chopped pistachios).fullsizeoutput_5100

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