Fennel Risotto

5 cups chicken stock
1 fennel bulb, chopped
1 (loose) cup fennel fronds, lightly chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups Arborio rice
1/3 cup Parmesan, grated
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoons sweet vermouth
1 tablespoon butter


In a saucepan, bring the broth to a simmer. Heat oil and butter in a large saucepan Saute the fennel, salt, pepper garlic and onion until lightly caramelized. Add the vermouth and let it cook off. Add the rice and sauté for 2-3 minutes, stirring continually. Add the broth a 1/2 cup at a time, stirring continuously, and waiting until the liquid is absorbed before each addition. This will take about 20 minutes total. When the risotto is creamy and the rice is al dente remove from heat and stir in the Parmesan and fronds.

My thoughts:

Fennel is in season right now (on the way out, actually) and I’ve been seeing some prime examples with fresh, fluffy fronds in my local markets. Rather than let the fronds go to waste, I stir them in and the end for a little extra flavor, color and texture interest. This is a pretty subtle tasting risotto so even the fennel wary should like it, the anise flavor is mellowed by the sautéing and all of the broth. Risotto is also super easy and quick to make on a weeknight especially if you (or your dining partner) are a compulsive stirrer like my husband.


  1. This is a great idea!! I haven’t been brave enough to attempt anything with fennel but perhaps this might inspire me to give it a shot!

  2. Wait, where did the 12 oz of beets go?

  3. Oh, no beets, I was going to make a beet-fennel risotto then thought better of it.

  4. This looks great! I’ve never actually tried fennel and I’ve been wanting to just that. I think this would be a good place to start!

  5. count me among the fennel wary, but i bought a bulb a few days ago because it looked so good. and i love risotto. maybe i’ll do it with farro, my new obsession.

  6. A fennel risotto sounds good! I only wish that fennel kept more of its flavour when cooked. I have never tried using the fennel fronds before.

  7. Kevin: fennel’s tendency to fade in flavor when cooked is ther perfect reason to stir the fronds in at the end, they don’t cook (much) so their flavor stays fresh which adds a little extra fennel flavor.

  8. That looks great. I’m sure it was delicious… I think I’ll have to try it with the last of the fennel around here.

  9. Very cool way to present a risotto… Just as a forkful!!

  10. I agree with Matt – great idea and beautiful presentation. Nothing beats a good risotto! This looks delish.


  11. Oh my goodness – the first picture is beautiful! I’m a risotto addict, but I’ve never been able to quite capture the texture in a picture.

  12. I like that picture too. I also like the idea of fennel risotto.

  13. This looks really good. It’s been a long time since I’ve made risotto! We both like fennel, though, so this would be perfect for us.

  14. I love this blog. I juice fennel with apple and celery (delicious!). I also grow it. It’s WONDERFUL cooked with fish as well but have only had that in restaurants – I’d love to see a coconut&lime fish with fennel recipe! I do find it a little overpowering in salads, raw, so I love anything that has cooked fennel and am excited to try this. I have never made risotto so this will be my first go!


  15. Can I seriously come over for dinner soon? …… your recipe sounds so yummy…..