Sunday, May 2, 2010

Risotto with Fennel

Rice dishes are very common in northern Italy as opposed to the southern part, where pasta plays a bigger role on an Italian table. For me, this was the first time I had ever made risotto, though I have always wanted to before. According to Lidia Bastianich, risotto is only made with imported Arborio rice, which the key ingredient making risotto risotto. So, if you are making this at home, don't substitute regular white rice.
Basic Risotto--"The Frugal Gourmet Cooks Italian" Jeff Smith
7 cups chicken stock
3 tbl. olive oil
2 cups arborio rice
salt and pepper to taste
In a small saucepan, bring the stock to a gentle simmer. Heat a 4-quart heavy-bottomed pot and add the oil. Add the arborio rice and toast the rice for a few minutes, but don't burn. Ladle in 1 1/2 cups of the simmering stock initially, stirring the rice constantly. Cook over medium-low heat. When the liquid has almost been absorbed the rice, add another 1/2 cup of hot stock. Continue stirring and adding the remaining stock 1/2 cup at a time as the stock is absorbed. This should take about 30 minutes to cook and the arborio should be tender but a bit firm to the tooth when done. Add salt and pepper to taste. (You will be amazing at how creamy this risotto is!)
Risotto with Fennel--"The Frugal Gourmet Cooks Italian" Jeff Smith
3 tbl. butter
2 cloves garlic
1 cup diced yellow onion
3 cups julienned fresh fennel bulb
1 recipe Basic Risotto
salt and pepper to taste
2 tbl. grated Parmesan cheese & 2 tbl. fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish
Heat a large frying pan and saute the butter, garlic and onion until the onion is almost clear. Add the fennel and saute until the fennel is tender, about 7-10 minutes. When the risotto is 5 minutes from being done, stir in the sauteed fennel mixture. Add the salt and pepper to taste and garnish.
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