Risotto: Take 2. The sequel. The return. Whatever you want to call it. And straight from Waitrose’s summer recipe magazine, even though London is setting into the depths of winter. If you can pick up some of the ingredients from a local farmer’s market or similar – it makes for a very tasty meal, that gives you a hint of summer even when there’s a chill in the air.
Risotto is a big winner in my books. Creamy, fluffy rice – what could be better? This dish is perfect for a dinner party because it is incredibly simple to make and looks particularly impressive when served with the butter in a small dish. It’s great because it doesn’t take a lot of effort and incorporates fresh summer flavours – fennel and lemon, which make for a nice combination, even if it isn’t very well-known.
Serves: 4 for dinner
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 shallots, finely chopped
- 1-2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 2 fennel bulbs, thinly sliced
- 200ml dry vermouth
- 350g Carnaroli rice
- 1.2-1.5 litres simmering vegetable stock
- 25g fresh basil and coriander leaves, shredded
- Approx. 60g butter
- Grated zest 1 lemon
- 50g freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano (optional)
- Heat the oil in a large pan, add the shallots, garlic and fennel and cook for 5-6 minutes until softened. Add the vermouth and simmer gently for another 5 minutes until the liquid has evaporated and the fennel is tender.
- Add the rice and briefly stir over a medium heat. Next, add a ladleful of stock and let it simmer until the stock is absorbed, stirring constantly. Continue to add stock, repeating the process, until it has all been absorbed – this usually takes 15-20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, beat the butter with the basil, lemon zest and seasoning.
- When the rice is tender and creamy, swirl in the butter and sprinkle on the cheese. Alternatively, serve in a souffle dish for guests to add to their own food.