Fennel Tomato Risotto with Goat Cheese Nuggets Recipe

Fennel Tomato Risotto with Goat Cheese Nuggets

Ripe tomatoes, fennel, and red onions never tasted that good. A delightful risotto flavored with red pepper flakes and fennel seeds. A mild creamy goat cheese crowns it all.

Yield: 4 servings

Time: 60 minutes

Ingredients:

US MeasuresMetricICYMI
  • 1 lb ripe tomatoes
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 medium-sized fennel bulb, finely chopped, green fronds reserved
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper (chile) flakes
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 1/4 cup arborio rice
  • 2/3 cup dry white wine
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 Tbsp Parmesan cheese
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 handful fresh basil leaves, cut into ribbons
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes sliced in half
  • 1/3 cup creamy goat cheese for garnish
  • 450 g ripe tomatoes
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 70 g red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 medium-sized fennel bulb, finely chopped, green fronds reserved
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper (chile) flakes
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 250 g arborio rice
  • 160ml dry white wine
  • 1 L vegetable stock
  • 2 Tbsp Parmesan cheese
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 handful fresh basil leaves, cut into ribbons
  • 200 g cherry tomatoes sliced in half
  • 35 g creamy goat cheese for garnish

Arborio rice gives this dish its creaminess while preserving at the same time the cherished “al dente” feel. Instead of Arborio you can also use other medium-grain rice varieties like Carnaroli or Vialone Nano rice.

Arborio rice is named after the town of Arborio, in the Po Valley. It is also grown in Arkansas, California, and Missouri. My favorite brand in the US is Della Rice from Arkansas.

Preparation:

Bring a large pan of water to a boil. Score tomatoes with a knife and blanch them for 20 seconds. Scoop tomatoes out the water and place them a colander. Run tomatoes under cold water, then peel , seed and roughly chop them up. Set aside. Warm the vegetable stock up over low heat and keep it warm until use.

Heat the olive oil in a large pan on medium-low heat. Add the onion, garlic, fennel, red pepper (chile) seeds, fennel seeds, and a pinch of salt. Cook gently for 20-25 minutes, stirring often. Turn up the heat to medium and stir in the chopped tomatoes, rice, and salt. Cook for three minutes longer. Increase the heat to high, add the white wine and cook stirring constantly until the wine has evaporated and most of the liquid has been absorbed by the rice.

Start by adding a ladleful of stock to the rice, while stirring it with a wooden spoon, until the liquid has been absorbed. Repeat, adding a ladleful of stock at a time and stirring fairly continuously (constant motion is the secret to a light, creamy risotto), until the rice is tender, but still has a bite to it, about 30-35 minute. Add the cherry tomatoes to the rice and warm them up, about 5 minutes. If risotto seems too dry, add more hot stock. Rice should be “al dente” with a moist texture, so make sure you add enough liquid.

When the rice is done, add a tablespoon of butter, parmesan, and some basil. Season to taste. Just before serving add dollops of goat cheese and scatter some of the remaining basil and fennel fronds on top. Serve on warmed plates.

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