Prep 20 mins
Cook 35 mins
A subtle and delicious recipe - the fennel seeds and herbs really integrate the taste of the roasted fennel into the whole dish. During preparation, some chefs exhort you to stir the risotto constantly; I find risotto quite forgiving provided it doesn't stick to the pan, so I would prefer to use the phrase 'stir regularly'. At the end of cooking, the risotto should still be pourable, but should not have a large 'head' of unabsorbed fluid when left to settle.
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon fennel seed
- 1 teaspoon dried tarragon
- 1⁄2 teaspoon dried dill
- 3 fluid ounces dry white wine or 3 fluid ounces vermouth
- 9 ounces risotto rice (arborio or carnaroli)
- 1⁄2 teaspoon saffron, crushed (optional)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large fennel bulb, trimmed and chopped
- 1 1⁄2-1 3⁄4 pints hot vegetable stock (use a light stock e.g. made with Marigold bouillon powder)
- 1 tablespoon vegan margarine
- 1 tablespoon vegan parmesan cheese, plus extra to serve (e.g. Parmazano)
- Pre-heat the oven to 200°C.
- Sweat the onion in the oil till softening then add the garlic, fennel seeds and herbs and sweat for a further two minutes.
- Add the rice (and saffron, if using), stirring to coat with oil, then the wine or vermouth.
- Stir till almost absorbed, then begin adding stock, about a ladle (¼ pint) at a time, stirring regularly till almost absorbed.
- Meanwhile, toss the fennel in the olive oil and a little seasoning and place in a roasting tin in the oven for 15 - 20 minutes until just cooked.
- Continue adding all the stock to the rice as described until used up and the rice feels cooked.
- Season to taste, perhaps erring on the side of caution.
- At this point, add the roasted fennel, along with the margarine and Parmazano and stir through till melted and incorporated.
- Check seasoning again - it'll probably be OK now - and serve on warm plates, passing pepper and more Parmazano.