Though most risottos are started by sautéing onions, in this recipe you begin by cooking finely diced fennel, which infuses the risotto with its subtle anise flavor. Traditionally risotto is served as a first course, followed by meat or fish, but it also makes an excellent vegetarian main course.
Mushroom and Fennel Risotto with Parmesan
- 6 cups (48 fl. oz./1.5 l) vegetable broth
- 4 Tbs. (2 fl. oz./60 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 fennel bulb, trimmed, cored and finely diced
- 1/2 lb. (250 g) assorted wild mushrooms, trimmed and halved or quartered, depending on size
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 shallot, finely diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 1/2 cups (10 oz./315 g) Arborio rice
- 1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) dry white wine
- 1/2 cup (4 oz./125 g) crème fraîche
- 1/4 cup (1 oz./30 g) grated Parmesan cheese, plus shaved Parmesan for garnish
- 2 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1. In a saucepan over medium heat, bring the broth to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and keep the broth warm.
2. In a large sauté pan over medium heat, warm 2 Tbs. of the olive oil. Add the fennel and sauté until slightly softened, about 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, about 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and transfer the vegetables to a plate. Set aside.
3. Add the remaining 2 Tbs. olive oil to the same pan and warm over medium heat. Add the shallot and sauté until soft and translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Add the rice and cook, stirring occasionally, until the grains are coated with the oil and somewhat translucent, about 3 minutes.
4. Add the wine and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the liquid is absorbed, about 2 minutes. Add 2 cups (16 fl. oz./500 ml) of the hot broth and cook, stirring constantly, until it is almost completely absorbed, about 10 minutes. Continue adding the broth 1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) at a time, stirring frequently after each addition and waiting until the broth is almost completely absorbed before adding more.
5. When the rice is creamy and the grains are tender yet still slightly firm to the bite, after about 25 minutes, stir in the crème fraîche until combined. Add the mushroom and fennel mixture to the risotto and stir until warmed through. Stir in the grated Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper, and stir in more broth if the risotto is too thick. Transfer to a serving platter or individual bowls and garnish with shaved Parmesan and the parsley. Serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6.
Williams Sonoma Test Kitchen