We hope you enjoy this version of our delectable Fennel Risotto that is featured on pg. 144 of our brand new cookbook called Table with a View that just launched yesterday! The addition of English Peas brings spring to this deliciously filling vegetarian dish. You may order your copy of Table With A View from our online shop or pick one up in person next time you are at Nick’s Cove!
For the Parmesan stock:
1 (4-oz) piece Parmesan rind
1 small white onion, roughly chopped
1 bay leaf
For the nasturtium pesto:
2 cups packed nasturtium leaves or sorrel leaves
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 small clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
For the fennel risotto:
1 large fennel bulb, about 12 oz., trimmed, fronds reserved for garnish
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups Carnaroli or Arborio rice
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup blanched English Peas
2 teaspoons fennel pollen
4 pesticide-free nasturtium flowers for garnish (optional)
Makes 4 servings.
To make the stock, in a medium saucepan, combine the Parmesan rind, onion, bay leaf, and 6 cups of water and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Cover, remove from the heat, and set aside for 2 hours to steep. Strain the stock through a fine-mesh sieve. If using the stock right away, return it to the saucepan. If not using it right away, store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to one month.
To make the pesto, in a blender, combine the nasturtium leaves, oil, lemon juice, Parmesan cheese, garlic, and salt and blend on medium-high speed until smooth. Set aside at room temperature. (The pesto will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Stir well before using.)
To blanch the English Peas, wash shelled peas in a large bowl of cold water. Bring a medium pot of water to a hard boil. Add peas to boiling water, ensuring the pot is not overcrowded. Return water to a boil and set a timer for 1 minute. Watch the timer carefully, but do not start it until the water has returned to a full boil. Immediately scoop out the peas and cool them instantly in an ice bath to stop them from continuing to cook. Drain and set them aside.
To roast the fennel, preheat the oven to 350F. Split the fennel bulb in half lengthwise. Place the halves cut side down on a cutting board and cut lengthwise into ¼-inch-thick slices. On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss the fennel with the oil, coating evenly, and season with salt. Spread the fennel in a single layer and roast until tender, approximately 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.
Return the Parmesan stock to the saucepan and bring to a bare simmer over medium-low heat. In another large, wide-bottomed saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the rice, and cook, stirring continuously until lightly toasted and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add one ladle of the hot stock to the rice, reduce heat to low, and cook, stirring occasionally so the rice does not stick, until the liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes. Continue adding the stock, a ladleful at a time, stirring after each addition until nearly fully absorbed before adding more, until all of the stock has been added and been absorbed by the rice. This should take about 30 minutes.
Add the roasted fennel and ½ teaspoon salt to the pot. Stir to combine. The risotto should be tender and moist. If the rice is still firm, add ½ cup water and stir over medium heat for about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the grated cheese and blanched English Peas. Serve immediately, garnished with fennel fronds.