Oil-cured olives have a wrinkled appearance and pleasant bitter, rich flavor. Substitute any other olive, if desired. You can also make this risotto with Arborio rice instead of barley. Save the feathery, flowery tips of the fennel bulb to chop and use as a garnish.
1/3 cup (about 1 1/2 ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup oil-cured olives, pitted and chopped
Chopped fennel fronds (optional)
How to Make It
Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add 3/4 cup leek, 1/2 cup fennel, and bell pepper; sauté 5 minutes or until tender. Add barley, thyme, and garlic; cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in 2 cups broth, and cook 10 minutes or until liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly. Stir in remaining 3/4 cup leek, 1/2 cup fennel, 1 1/2 cups broth, and wine; cook until liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring frequently (about 45 minutes). Stir in the cheese, parsley, and black pepper. Sprinkle with olives; garnish with fennel fronds, if desired.