Fennel and Leek Risotto with Prosciutto and Fennel Pollen

Fennel and Leek Risotto with Prosciutto and Fennel Pollen from The Hungry Goddess

Risotto makes me happy; cooking it, eating it, standing over it and coaxing all of that delicious flavor into those teeny little grains of arborio rice.  I can eat it warm or cold – straight from the fridge is gorgeous and I like it in the morning, afternoon and evening (and sometimes at midnight!).

Today is Fennel Friday and since Fennel ALSO makes me happy and since I was craving a risotto AND since Fennel Friday is all about creating culinary magic with Fennel Pollen this week, I decided to do a Fennel and Leek Risotto with Prosciutto.  Finished off with some lemon zest and fennel pollen – this risotto was double delicious the day after!

Fennel Pollen is the secret ingredient IN the risotto and to finish the risotto – Fennel Pollen from Pollen Ranch is part of the my Essential Pantry!  Arborio Rice from Whole Foods is reasonably priced and works well for my risotto explorations.

Partially making your own stock is the perfect way to use up some veggie odds and ends in the refrigerator and bring a fresh flavor to the risotto.  You can substitute all vegetable stock or use chicken but try to make some of your own as well.  If you are pressed for time, use the vegetable or chicken broth but always WARM when adding to the risotto.

Adapted from the Cooks Illustrated Basic Risotto Recipe

Ingredients
  • 2 fennel bulb (chopped & stalks reserved)
  • 3 medium leeks {sliced, light & green parts separated}
  • 3 cups low sodium chicken/vegetable stock
  • 4 cups water
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter {divided}
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons Fennel Pollen (and a bit to sprinkle for garnish)
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
  • 1 cup dry white wine (I like Sauvignon Blanc for risotto)
  • 1/3 pound thinly sliced Prosciutto – chopped
  • 3/4 cups freshly grated Parmesan Reggiano cheese (or more to taste)
  • 2 TB of lemon juice
  • Chopped fresh parsley for garnish (I added some to the stock as well)
  • Lemon Zest of two lemons
  • Pinch of Fennel Pollen

Make Your Own Stock for Risotto

Pot of Homemade Stock for Risotto

Instructions

  1. For the STOCK:  (I had some asparagus to use as well so I threw it in – totally optional)
  2. Snap the tough ends off the asparagus & place them in a medium stockpot. Add the chicken stock, the sliced leeks {dark green parts}, fennel stalks, some parsley & water. Bring the stock to a boil, reduce to a simmer & cook, covered, for 25 minutes.
  3. Drain the stock, push to extract liquid, discard the vegetables & transfer the liquid back to the stockpot. Cover & keep warm over low heat.
  4. For the RISOTTO:
  5. Chop fennel into 1/2 in pieces.
  6. Heat 1 tablespoon of the butter, in a large saucepan.
  7. Add 3/4 of the fennel & cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes.
  8. Cook until the fennel is tender, about 4-5 minutes more. Transfer to a plate & set aside.
  9. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter, in the same saucepan, over medium heat & add the leeks {light green parts}, rest of the fennel bulb, garlic, fennel pollen, generous pinch salt & generous pinch pepper. Cook, until the leeks and fennel are softened, about 5-6 minutes.
  10. Stir in the rice & cook for 3 minutes, stirring frequently, until rice appears translucent. Add the wine & cook until fully absorbed, 2-3 minutes.
  11. Add 3 cups of the warm stock. Reduce the heat & simmer, stirring frequently, until the liquid is absorbed, about 10-12 minutes. Stir every 3-4 minutes.
  12. Begin adding the stock, a 1/2 cup at a time & simmering and stirring frequently until the liquid is absorbed and until the rice is tender.
  13. Before the last ladle is added, add the prosciutto to the pan and stir. Then add the last ladle of both.
  14. TASTE and add salt and pepper as needed.
  15. Remove the pan from the heat & stir in the remaining tablespoon of butter & the Parmesan & the lemon juice. Add the reserved fennel, gently folding it in.
  16. Garnish with parmesan cheese, some chopped parsley, lemon zest and a generous sprinkle of fennel pollen. Serve immediately.
Notes

That cooking time is on the higher side. Take your time and see how it unfolds!

Fennel and Leek Risotto with Prosciutto and Fennel Pollen from The Hungry Goddess

Fennel and Leek Risotto with Prosciutto and Fennel Pollen from The Hungry Goddess

 

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