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Pasta Risotto with Fennel

Photo: Randy Mayor; Styling: Cindy Barr
Yield 4 servings (serving size: about 1 cup)
The entire fennel plant is used in this recipe, so purchase one with fresh-looking fronds. The bulb adds flavor, while the feathery green fronds finish the dish. The wine is added with a broth to keep more of the wine flavor and balance the licorice hint from the fennel.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 2 cups chopped fennel bulb
  • 1 cup thinly sliced leek (about 2 large)
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 1/4 cups uncooked orzo (about 8 ounces rice-shaped pasta)
  • 1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated pecorino Romano cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fennel fronds
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Nutrition Information

  • calories 366
  • caloriesfromfat 22 %
  • fat 9.1 g
  • satfat 4.7 g
  • monofat 2.1 g
  • polyfat 0.7 g
  • protein 12.7 g
  • carbohydrate 48.9 g
  • fiber 5.5 g
  • cholesterol 21 mg
  • iron 3.7 mg
  • sodium 660 mg
  • calcium 172 mg

How to Make It

  1. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add fennel bulb, leek, and fennel seeds; cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in salt. Cover and cook 12 minutes or until fennel is tender, stirring occasionally. Set aside.

  2. Combine broth and wine; bring to a simmer in a large saucepan (do not boil). Keep warm over low heat (mixture will look curdled).

  3. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a medium sauté pan over medium heat. Add orzo to pan; cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add broth mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring mixture frequently until each portion of broth mixture is absorbed before adding the next (about 17 minutes total). Stir in leek mixture; cook 2 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in cheese, fennel fronds, and pepper.