Lemon and fennel risotto

Photo: Simon Lambert
Photo: Simon Lambert
Lemons and fennel are in season and they make a perfect partnership. This subtle combination works beautifully on its own as a light dinner or will accompany seafood, pork and lamb.

Lemon and fennel risotto

Serves 4

1500ml vegetable stock, hot
2 lemons
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp butter
2 shallots
1 tsp fennel seeds, crushed
3 bulbs fennel, sliced thinly and tops reserved
400g risotto rice, such as arborio or carnaroli
200ml dry white wine
100g parmesan cheese, finely grated
1 cup fennel fronds
½ purple olives, stones removed
50ml olive oil
sea salt and cracked pepper

Bring the stock to the boil.

In a medium-sized saucepan, heat the oil and butter, add fennel seeds and shallots and cook gently for 3 minutes.

Add the sliced fennel bulbs and cover with a lid and cook for about 15 minutes until the fennel has softened and become sweet and fragrant.

Add the zest of 1 lemon and juice from half.

Add the rice and stir well so the rice gets coated. Cook until the rice becomes lightly toasted.

Add wine and stir well until it has been absorbed into the rice.

Ladle the hot stock in one ladle at a time. Stir well between each addition so the rice sucks up the stock and becomes creamy.

Continue until the rice is tender and creamy and the sauce around the rice is thick and silky. If too thick, loosen with a little more stock, or if too runny cook out for a little longer. You may or may not need all the stock.

Adjust the seasoning and finish by adding half the grated parmesan and stir to combine.

To make the fennel and olive dressing
Chop the fennel fronds and add to the olives and zest of 1 lemon.

Stir together, add the olive oil and enough lemon juice to balance the dressing.

To serve the risotto, spoon on to your plate, sprinkle over a little more grated parmesan. Spoon over a little fennel and olive dressing.


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