Fennel & Black Olive Risotto

In Main meals, Rice on April 5, 2012 at 7:44 am

I make this recipe all the time and oddly enough, I’ve never photographed it. Possibly because risotto is one of those things that is very difficult to photograph well. Not to mention I usually make it at night, so the lighting is poor. Also, I was in such a hurry to get eating, I even forgot to move my whiskey glass out of way – ooops!

However, that’s enough excuses. And bad photo aside – this recipe is delicious! There’s a reason I make it all the time. Plus, you generally have some relish leftover, which is always a good thing. I used fennel from my garden – I’ve got to say it really helps if you grow it yourself as it’s pretty expensive to buy. It’s really easy to grow though – so if you’ve got any space in your garden, I really recommend planting some fennel!

Fennel & Black Olive Relish:

6 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, crushed

1 fennel bulb, trimmed and chopped

5 sundried tomatoes in oil, drained and coarsely chopped

200 g oven dried black olives, pitted

1 fresh bay leaf

12 basil leaves, torn

2 tbsp aniseed liqueur (I used white Sambuca)

salt and pepper

To make relish, heat 2 tbsp of oil in medium saucepan and cook the onion, garlic and fennel until softened. Add sundried tomatoes, olives and bay leaf and cook for 2-3 minutes more. Season, remove bay leaf and stir in basil. Transfer to a food processor and blend to a coarse texture. Stir in the liqueur and remaining oil. Cover and set aside.

Risotto ingredients:

1 litre vegetable stock

125g butter

1 onion, finely chopped

3 fennel bulbs (I only ever used one), trimmed and finely chopped

zest of 1 lemon

300g risotto rice

150ml white wine

parmesan, to serve

To make risotto, put the stock in a saucepan and keep at a gentle simmer. Melt half the butter in a saucepan and add the onion, fennel and lemon zest and cook until whole lot is well softened, about 10-15 mins. Add rice and stir until well coated with butter and heated through. Add glass of wine and wait until absorbed.

Begin adding stock, one ladle at a time, stirring gentle until the liquid has been absorbed. I always cook my risotto on a very low temperature – it’s better to cook it slightly slower and let the flavours be absorbed by the rice. Cook until the rice is tender and creamy, but still firm to the bite. Cover and let rest for a few mins; stir in the remaining butter. Top with the black olive relish and grated parmesan.

YUM. Winter is here! Well, almost.


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