- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 onion, finely diced
- 2 small or large fennel bulb, finely diced (reserve a few leafy tips)
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 ½ cups arborio rice
- 1 glass, approx ½ cup white wine
- 5-6 cups fish or seafood stock, recipe below
- Zest from ½ lemon
- Seafood … ideas below
- A few sprigs from fennel fronds
- 50 grams grated parmesan cheese, optional
Heat olive oil in a heavy-based pan and saute onion, garlic and fennel until softened.
Add rice and stir until well coated, then add the wine and stir until its evaporated.
Gradually add the hot stock, roughly 2 cups at a time, stirring frequently, until rice is soft and creamy. The amount of liquid will vary, so taste the rice frequently and aim for a loose not stiff and gluggy texture. (Risotto should ‘spread’ not pile on a plate.)
If using raw seafood and/or mussels, bury into the risotto in the last few minutes and steam with the lid on to cook.
If using cooked seafood, stir through rice just before serving.
Gently stir in lemon zest.
Serve immediately topped with fennel tips and freshly ground black pepper.
MARINARA: 8 live black mussels, 4 med-large peeled green prawns, 150 gr scored squid or cuttlefish flesh, 150 gr boneless, skinless salmon or firm white fish, cut into chunks.
During the last few minutes of cooking time, add seafood to pan and gently cover with risotto. Also, bury mussels, hinge side up. Cover with a lid and steam to cook seafood and open mussels.
SMOKED SALMON: When the risotto is cooked, gently stir through 200 gr hot smoked salmon or sliced cold-smoked salmon with a tablespoon of baby capers and few handfuls of washed baby spinach leaves.
CRAB: When the risotto is cooked, gently stir through 200gr cooked crab meat.
CHILLI TUNA: When the risotto is cooked, gently stir through a large tin of quality tuna in chilli oil and a handful of green or black olives.
GARLIC PRAWN: Pan fry peeled green prawns in foaming melted butter with lots of fresh chopped garlic, then stir garlic butter and prawns through the cooked risotto.
SMOKED OYSTERS: When the risotto is cooked, gently stir through a tin of smoked oysters with their juices and oil. Finish with a big squeeze of lemon juice and top with fresh rocket leaves.
FISH OR SEAFOOD STOCK: A simple seafood stock can be made by simmering 1.5 litres of water with a halved onion, 2 bay leaves, a fish head and/or frame, and/or any seafood shells, and any herb stems, sprigs and vegetable trimmings. Bring to the boil then skim the surface, reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes.