Lemon & fennel risotto

March 18, 2010
4 Ratings
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

I love this risotto because it's so light and tangy. It doesn't weigh you down like most risottos do and it isn't so creamy that you end up with stomach pains. Can a risotto really be refreshing? Well, I'd like to wager a bet on this one, please. Lemon, parmeggiano, fennel....what's not to love there. —Londonfoodieny

What You'll Need
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 large fennel bulbs
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 4 sprigs thyme
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 1/2 cups risotto rice
  • 1 glass white wine or vermouth
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice (2 lemons)
  • 2 lemons, zest of
  • 1/4 cup creme fraiche
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmeggiano reggiano
  1. Heat the oven to 400F. Remove the green stalks entirely from one fennel bulb and with the other trim down to about 1 inch. Remove the outer layer of both the bulbs. Slice the fennel with the trimmed stalks into 1/2 inch slices lengthways. Dice the other bulb into roughly 1/4 inch pieces and set aside.
  2. Place the sliced fennel on a sheet tray and drizzle with 1 Tbsp olive oil, the honey and a scatter with the leaves of one sprig of thyme Roast in the oven for 30-40 minutes or until they begin to caramelize, turning a couple of times and adding a splash of oil or water to the pan if they begin to stick.
  3. Meanwhile start the risotto. Heat up the stock in a small saucepan so that it is at a low simmer. In a large straight-sided pan heat the remaining 1 Tbsp of oil over a medium heat and add the chopped onion and chopped fennel to the pan. Stir to coat in the oil and then cover and allow to sweat, stirring every now and then for 15-20 minutes or until very tender. Remove the lid, turn up the heat, stirring every once in a while until the onion and fennel are golden. Again, add a splash of water to the pan if they begin to stick.
  4. Add the rice and the leaves from a couple of thyme sprigs to the pan, stir to coat and then add the wine, stirring until the wine is almost completely evaporated. Start adding the stock, a ladle-full at a time, without adding additional stock until nearly all has evaporated. Stir the rice whilst keeping it at a gentle simmer the whole time.
  5. Once all of the stock has been added and the rice is cooked but still has a bite to it, add the lemon juice. Cover and let sit for 5 minutes and then stir through the lemon zest, crème fraîche, butter and parmesan and season to taste.
  6. Serve the risotto topped with the caramelized fennel slices and scatter with some thyme leaves.
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3 Reviews

Helen December 7, 2020
OMG this is the best risotto I have ever had. I’m not really a risotto fan because I prefer pasta to risotto but this was delicious. It is the only risotto I will ever make. I followed the recipe as written and served it with seared scallops. When I read it I thought the caramelized fennel was unnecessary but I was wrong. It elevated the dish to extraordinary.
ann H. May 17, 2015
I made this tonight for a dinner party side dish and it was a real hit. The lemon & fennel were really lovely together, and it was much lighter than most risottos. The creme fraiche at the end was perfect. Will definitely make this again.
LynnATL April 19, 2010
So many of my favorite ingredients in one dish. Putting this recipe on my must-try list. Can't wait - fennel, risotto and lemon - oh my.