This is a hands-on dish that never disappoints. It would be wise to recruit someone in the family to help you stir the risotto. Feel free to rename this dish “licorice risotto” the finely chopped fennel gives it a similar flavor profile to pique the interest of pickier eaters.
- Yield: 4 Servings
- Total Time: 35 Minutes
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small fennel bulb, trimmed and finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
- 2 cups Arborio rice
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ cup white wine (such as pinot grigio or sauvignon blanc)
- 3 to 4 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
- 8 ounces white button mushrooms, wiped clean and sliced
- 1 grated lemon zest plus 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add the fennel and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened and translucent. Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
- Add the rice and cook, stirring, until the grains become glossy, about 2 minutes. Season with the salt and pepper. Stir in the wine and cook until it has evaporated, about 5 minutes.
- Add 2 cups of the broth to the rice mixture and stir to combine. Cook, stirring every 2 to 3 minutes to prevent the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pan, until all the liquid has been absorbed. Add just enough of the broth to cover the rice and continue to cook, stirring. The risotto will begin to become creamier as the grains soften with each addition of broth.
- Repeat with the remaining broth, then add the mushrooms, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Taste the rice for texture. The risotto should be tender but with a slight firmness, not mushy.
- Stir in the Parmesan cheese and transfer to bowls for serving.