Pasta Risotto with Fennel

Photo: Randy Mayor; Styling: Cindy Barr

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.

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: about 1 cup)
Recipe from Cooking Light

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Nutritional Information

Amount per serving
  • Calories: 366
  • Calories from fat: 22%
  • Fat: 9.1g
  • Saturated fat: 4.7g
  • Monounsaturated fat: 2.1g
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 0.7g
  • Protein: 12.7g
  • Carbohydrate: 48.9g
  • Fiber: 5.5g
  • Cholesterol: 21mg
  • Iron: 3.7mg
  • Sodium: 660mg
  • Calcium: 172mg

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

Preparation

  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.
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