Risotto is very common at our house. It gives any meal a touch of elegance and I walk away feeling like a master chef. In reality, it's an easy dish to prepare. People are often intimidated by it, but there is nothing to stress over. You do have to babysit it for about 20 mins, and that's the hardest part. Risotto that is too dry is the common complaint. I am a mom of two small kids, so walking away from the stove, forgetting about the risotto, and over cooking it to dryness does happen. A trick to help save that is to always have some heavy cream reducing. It will not be risotto perfection, but it can save a possible disaster. For risotto that has been cooked perfectly, it is a nice creamy boost. I love to add a mountain of Parmesan to my risotto, which thickens it a bit, so again, the cream helps loosen up the rice a bit. Since I am reducing heavy cream anyway, I like to infuse it with flavor. For this dish, I used fennel seeds. This gives it a touch of fennel flavor, but it won't over power it.
Feel free to change up this dish with some other veggies. Asparagus is a very good addition, or maybe different types of mushrooms. You could also turn this into a full meal by adding shrimp. Or garnish is with crumbled up pancetta or bacon.
Mushroom, Pea, and Fennel Cream Risotto
Serving Size = 4 - 5
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 - 1 1/2 teaspoons fennel seeds (I eye it)
- 1 cup risotto
- 3 cups stock, warm (I used chicken stock)
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon or so of extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup fresh Parmesan
- 8 or so mushrooms, chopped
- 1/2 small white onion, finely chopped
- 2 - 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- Salt (1 teaspoon or so)
- 1/2 cup or so frozen peas
- Zest of 1 lemon
- In a medium saucepan, preferably with a wide bottom, melt the oil and butter over medium heat. Add the onions and saute for a bit, then add the mushrooms. Saute until golden. Add the zest, garlic, and rice. Toast the rice for a few minutes.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low and add about 1/2 cup of stock and the salt. Stir. Keep it at a very gentle simmer. It will start out soupy, but as the liquid absorbs it will thicken up. When you stir and can start to see the bottom of the pan, add around 1/4 cup of stock.
- In the meantime, start the fennel cream. Mix them together in a small saucepan over medium heat and gently boil until reduced by about half. When done, strain out the seeds and set aside.
- Keep adding the stock to the risotto until there is no more stock (should take around 20 mins). Taste to make sure it's done, if not, add more stock or water. Stir in the peas when you add the last bit of stock. Check the seasoning. Remove from heat and stir in the cheese. Gently stir in the heavy cream. Check seasoning, again (the key to good rice).
- The final product shouldn't be too dry. When you serve it on a plate, the risotto should spread out just a bit and then stop. It will not be soupy, or dry like white rice.