Fennel Risotto and Braised Carrots

Fennel showed up in the box again.  And once again I was a bit flummoxed as to how to use it.  But over this last year receiving a CSA, I’ve figured out that a pretty good formula for dealing with vegetables is to mix them into a carb (pasta or rice) and add cheese.  Hence, fennel risotto.

2 bulbs fennel, fronds and core removed, diced fine

1 medium onion, diced fine

drizzle of olive oil

1 c Arborio rice (no substitutions)

4 c (2 cans) low sodium chicken broth

3/4 c grated parmesan cheese

In a wide pot over medium heat, cook the fennel and onion in olive oil until very fragrant and slightly tender.  Add the rice and cook, stirring, until the rice begins to give off a nutty aroma, about 3-5 minutes.  Add the chicken broth, half a cup at a time, stirring constantly.  Do not add more broth until the previous addition is fully absorbed by the rice.  This process will take about 15-20 minutes.  Once all the broth is absorbed, stir in the parmesan cheese, salt and pepper to taste.

Along side this risotto, we enjoyed carrots braised in butter.  Yes, I’ve been watching Julie & Julia again, so I’ve been reading my Mastering the Art of French Cooking again.  Braised carrots are super easy, though they take a little while.  Peel and quarter 1-2 lbs carrots.  Put the carrots in a dutch oven and add enough water to barely cover the carrots.  Add 2 T butter, 1 t salt, and 1 T sugar or honey.  Bring the water to a low boil and let the carrots boil until the water has evaporated.  Toss in an extra T of butter right before serving for a very simple side dish.

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