Pasta Risotto with Fennel
The entire fennel plant is used in this recipe, so purchase one with fresh-looking fronds. The bulb adds flavor, while the feathery green fronds finish the dish. The wine is added with a broth to keep more of the wine flavor and balance the licorice hint from the fennel.
- 2 tablespoons butter, divided
- 2 cups chopped fennel bulb
- 1 cup thinly sliced leek (about 2 large)
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1 1/4 cups uncooked orzo (about 8 ounces rice-shaped pasta)
- 1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated pecorino Romano cheese
- 2 tablespoons chopped fennel fronds
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Adapted from myrecipes.com
Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add fennel bulb, leek, and fennel seeds; cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in salt. Cover and cook 12 minutes or until fennel is tender, stirring occasionally. Set aside.
Combine broth and wine; bring to a simmer in a large saucepan (do not boil). Keep warm over low heat (mixture will look curdled).
Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a medium sauté pan over medium heat. Add orzo to pan; cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add broth mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring mixture frequently until each portion of broth mixture is absorbed before adding the next (about 17 minutes total). Stir in leek mixture; cook 2 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in cheese, fennel fronds, and pepper.