Roasted Fennel Risotto

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Until recently I found risotto pretty daunting.  I have flash backs of early attempts resulting in undercooked rice and a dried out sticky mess at the bottom of the saucepan.  Of course at the time we were renting a crummy flat with an electric ring for a stove top that was difficult to couldn’t possibly be my fault.  Now risotto and I are great friends and I’ve begun to get more adventurous with my ingredients.

This risotto mixes arborio rice with quinoa which gives it a health boost without being over powering.  If you hate the thought of quinoa in your risotto then just substitute it for more rice. The quinoa adds a nutty flavour, the lemon gives the risotto an extra kick and pairs beautifully with the fennel.  Roasted chicken works really well here too if, like me, you happen to live with a carnivore.
Roasted Fennel Risotto adapted from BBC Good Food Magazine

Serves 2
1 large fennel bulb
knob of butter
1 onion finely chopped
1 garlic clove finely chopped
100g arborio rice
50g quinoa
150ml white wine (optional)
550ml chicken or vegetable stock
zest of 1 lemon
25g parmesan, grated
olive oil
Thoroughly rinse the quinoa and set aside.  Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 7, 220°C.  Chop the fennel in to chunks removing the green leafy fronds.  Put some oil in a roasting tin and add the half the fennel.  Roast until the edges are crispy.  Meanwhile heat some olive oil in a deep frying pan, add the onion, garlic and half the fennel and cook until soft but not coloured.
Add the butter and the quinoa and stir for 1 minute.  Then add the rice and stir for another minute.  Pour over the wine if using and simmer until evaporated (if not using wine then use a bit of stock instead).  Keep your stock hot by heating it in a separate saucepan on low and begin to add it a ladleful at a time to the risotto, stirring between each addition until it is absorbed and has reached the desired consistency.  You may find you need more or less stock.  This process should take between 20 and 25 minutes.
When the quinoa and rice are cooked, stir in the lemon zest and parmesan.  Remove the pan from the heat, cover and leave for 2 minutes.  Serve in bowls topped with the oven roasted fennel and roast chicken if using.  Sprinkle a bit of extra parmesan on top too.

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