Friday, December 22, 2006

Creamy risotto with a hint of anise

Ever since we tried fennel for the first time earlier in the year, I've been keeping my eyes peeled for recipes that sound like we may enjoy them. Tonight's dinner, Risotto with Fennel and Peas, is perked up in two ways with the flavor of anise - one from the fennel and another from Pernod, a licorice-flavored liqueur.

As long as you have the time to stick around the pot to stir, this really takes a minimal amount of effort - just some chopping of the veggies and grating of sharp Parmesan cheese. Frequent or constant stirring of the risotto is key to getting that luscious creamy texture, along with using arborio rice - a short grain rice that is quite starchy. Be sure to remember not to rinse this rice as you don't want to wash off the needed starch! The recipe calls for 5 to 6 cups of warmed chicken broth - I ended up using a little under 5 cups as the rice was just tender with that amount. With two cups of fennel and the shot of Pernod, I was expecting a more in-your-face anise flavor, but it was not as strong - it was more like a gentle bite with a light sweetness. I liked how we cooked the carrots separately; this way you can control how tender they get. I left them in the water for just under 2 minutes. They had just enough give to them, but were still pretty firm - Jeff is not a fan of mushy veggies!


  1. I'm with Jeff on the mushy veggies, yech! But I too love fennel. It's really great in stuffed Greek peppers -- love that!

  2. EJ - Can you believe we've never had stuffed peppers? I keep meaning to try and make some, but never get around to it!