Fennel is one of those veggies that often sits in the produce section under curious eyes or in the fridge crisper drawers of bewildered CSA members untouched. The question: What on earth do you do with fennel?
Well, until recently, I had this same question. I’ve eaten fennel in a lot of ways. . . roasted, in stir frys, chopped up, sliced, and raw. All of the ways I’ve had it before, I couldn’t seem to get past its characteristically strong licorice flavor. And then, I figured it out. The key with fennel is to cook it long enough that its licorice flavors mellows to a subtle, sweet, decadent flavor.
Give this gluten free, dairy free (optional), rich and creamy fennel risotto a shot. If you haven’t loved fennel before, it might just become one of your new-found favorite veggies!
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Total time: 60 minutes
1 1/2 cups arborio rice (also known as risotto rice)
4 1/2 cups vegetable stock
2 tablespoons grapeseed or olive oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped finely
1 onion, diced finely
2 bulbs fennel, chopped into ~ 1/2 inch pieces
2 tablespoons organic butter or EVOO
Sea salt and pepper, to taste
Fennel fronds, for garnish (optional)
- In a medium saucepan, heat rice and 1 cup of stock over medium heat. Stir frequently until all liquid is absorbed. Repeat with another cup of stock adding 1 cup of stock at a time.
- Heat another saucepan or skillet and add 2 tablespoons of oil. Add garlic, onion, and fennel. Saute on medium-low heat, stirring frequently, for about 30 minutes or until fennel is soft and sweet.
- When the fennel mixture is done, add it to the saucepan with the rice and stir to combine. Continue adding stock 1 cup at a time until all stock has been absorbed by the rice. Remove pan from heat.
- Add butter or EVOO and salt and pepper to taste. Stir well.
- Serve immediately. Garnish with fennel fronds if you have them. Enjoy!