Lemon and fennel risotto with crisp-fried sage
- May 2016
- Serves 4
- Hands-on time 50 min
Zesty lemon and delicate fennel are a delicious combination in this creamy risotto. The crispy sage garnish takes it to another level.
Spring flavours also take centre stage in this asparagus, pecorino and lemon risotto.
- 30.9g (15g saturated)
- 49.9g (3g sugars)
- 1-1.2 litres fresh vegetable stock
- 1 unwaxed lemon
- 65g slightly salted butter
- 100g shallots, finely chopped
- 2 large celery sticks, finely chopped
- 1 small fennel bulb (about 200g), trimmed and chopped
- 225g carnaroli or arborio risotto rice
- 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh sage
- 50ml extra-dry vermouth or dry white wine
- 2 tbsp double or single cream
- 50g parmesan (or vegetarian alternative), finely grated, plus extra to serve
- For the garnish
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- Handful small fresh sage leaves
- Bring the stock to the boil in a large pan, and keep hot over a low heat. Meanwhile, remove half the zest of the lemon with a potato peeler, taking care not to remove much of the bitter white pith, then slice it thinly across into small lengths like pine needles. Grate the zest from the other half of the lemon onto a saucer.
- Melt 50g of the butter in a medium pan with a lid. Stir in the shallots and a little salt and pepper, then cover and cook over a low heat for 5 minutes. Uncover, stir in the celery, fennel and most of the lemon zest ‘pine needles’, then replace the lid and cook for a further 5 minutes or until the shallots are soft and translucent but not browned.
- Stir in the rice and chopped sage, then cook for 1 minute or until all the grains are coated in butter and the edges of the rice look translucent.
- Add the vermouth or wine and simmer gently, stirring, until it has been absorbed by the rice. Add a ladleful of the hot stock and stir until it’s all been absorbed before adding another. Continue this way for 30-35 minutes, stirring constantly, until the rice is creamy and tender but still has a little bite. You may not need all the stock.
- While the risotto is cooking, prepare the garnish. Heat the olive oil in a small frying pan, then add the sage leaves, a few at a time, and fry for a few seconds. Swiftly remove with a slotted spoon and leave to drain on kitchen paper.
- Turn off the heat under the risotto and stir in the cream, the grated lemon zest, 25g of the parmesan (or alternative) and the remaining 15g butter. Season to taste with salt and pepper. The risotto should be of a loose enough consistency to flow, so add more stock if necessary.
- Ladle the risotto into warm, shallow bowls or soup plates, then scatter with a little more grated cheese, the crisp fried sage leaves and the remaining lemon zest ‘pine needles’. Serve straightaway.
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