Fennel & lemon risotto

Fennel & lemon risotto

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(35 ratings)

Prep: 15 mins Cook: 20 mins


Serves 2
This new way with risotto makes an easy supper for two. For a non-veggie option, just add a few cooked, peeled prawns

Nutrition and extra info

  • Vegetarian

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal477
  • fat16g
  • saturates9g
  • carbs69g
  • sugars12g
  • fibre7g
  • protein13g
  • salt1.12g
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  • 1 large fennel bulb, base trimmed

    Fennel bulb

    Like Marmite, fennel is something that you either love or hate - its strong aniseed flavour…

  • 1 tbsp butter, plus a knob



    Butter is made when lactic-acid producing bacteria are added to cream and churned to make an…

  • 1 onion, finely chopped



    Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…

  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 140g risotto rice

    Risotto rice

    To create an authentic creamy Italian risotto, the use of specialist rice is imperative. It…

  • 175ml white wine
  • 550ml hot vegetable stock
  • zest 1 lemon



    Oval in shape, with a pronouced bulge on one end, lemons are one of the most versatile fruits…

  • 25g Parmesan or vegetarian alternative, grated



    Parmesan is a straw-coloured hard cheese with a natural yellow rind and rich, fruity flavour. It…

Make it non-veggie

  • small handful cooked, peeled prawns per portion



    There are thousands of different species of prawn, but tiger, king and North Atlantic are the…

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  1. Chop any green leafy fennel fronds and set aside. Cut off the stalk-like fennel top, remove the outer layers and finely chop both. Heat 1 tbsp butter in a frying pan and cook the onion, garlic and chopped fennel until soft but not coloured.

  2. Add the rice and stir for 1 min. Pour over most of the wine and simmer until evaporated. Add 500ml of the hot stock, a ladleful at a time, stirring between each addition until it is absorbed.

  3. Meanwhile, slice remaining fennel and fry in knob of butter until browned. Add remaining stock and wine and cook until tender.

  4. When the rice is cooked, stir in the zest, Parmesan and some seasoning. Take off the heat and set aside, covered, for 2 mins. Serve in bowls, topped with the fennel fronds and cooked fennel, stirring the prawns through if using.

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Comments (36)

20mitchell06's picture

Made this tonight for me and my wife. It was lovely, we breaded and fried king prawns to serve with it to add some texture. Don't be shy with the fennel.

Cinny's picture

This recipe has become a firm favourite, I've made it several times now. When I've stir fried the fennel separately I've done it slowly until it's almost caramelised and it's absolutely delicious, so much so I now put less in the rice itself. I've also added carrots and red peppers to the rice (using up leftovers) and it's worked perfectly well. The Prawns are a must, fried up with some garlic. Definitely a 5 star recipe

Pluto's place's picture

Second attempt. This time with a bit more fennel, a decent white wine and stir fried tiger prawns. The separately cooked fennel adds an extra dimension. Heavenly!

broadhaven's picture

I wasn't expecting to enjoy this as much as I did. Loved the fennel on the top. I almost caramelised it and it really was delicious. The lemon also brought out the flavour. Hubby wasn't too keen but he's not keen on anything that's got no meat.
Will pass it onto my daughter who has just turned vegetarian.

dog-days's picture

I've finally given in and created an account on BBC Good Food just to comment on this recipe.

I've tried to make tomato/mushroom risottos a few times in the past, and never found the result satisfactory. I was beginning to think that risottos are a) my Achilles' heel and b) overrated anyway. But I recently found myself the proud if bemused owner of one half-price fennel bulb, and had to do something with it. I followed charlit's suggestion and at the end of the cooking time added a roasted red pepper. And the result was delicious. I would heartily recommend this recipe to anyone, whether they like risotto or not. It was gorgeous. Full marks.

Pluto's place's picture

Delicious midweek supper with left overs...felt satisfied. Perfect as it is; only needs a generous grinding of pepper, no salt when seasoning the dish.

catelee2u's picture

Loved it, delicious. I couldn't get a fennel bulb so used 1.5-2 tablespoons of fennel seeds instead. I also didn't use any cheese. I used an inch of ginger finely chopped as I have a cold and plenty ginger leftover. I also just use juice of lemon as I don't have a rinding tool. It was a very unique and interesting flavour. Will likely have again.

Bethalex's picture

Fabulous risotto. Strong lemon taste, rather than fennel, which is much milder in this dish. Wasn't immediately apparent how to divide the fennel for the different stages of the recipe, so most of mine was chopped and added at the start - still worked perfectly.

punchy92's picture

Absolutely amazing dish, I added prawns for a bit of extra protein and flavour, and substituted wine for extra stock as I didn't have any at the time but it worked out really well. The fennel and lemon just work perfectly together, it's now become a firm favourite of mine. Would highly recommend's picture

Gorgeous rissoto for an inpromptu Christmas-time get together with friends. I substituted the wine with extra stock and this worked out perfectly. Healthy dose of parmesan over the top was lovely.

bexthehex's picture

Really nice! I couldn't resist adding a splash of cream and it was lovely.

tracy_fourie's picture

Yum Yum Yum. Very easy to make and will definately make again!

chanelu's picture

This is a firm staple for us, it's so easy to do and flavour entirely depends on the quality of the ingredients. Lovely fresh fennel and a good wine make a world of difference! I haven't tried it with prawns, but to be honest I don't think it needs them - it's a great lighter mid-week meal.

impymarsh's picture

This took a bit longer than stated but it was really delicious. The lemon zest was a great complement to the fennel and the whole dish was creamy and delicious.

flirtinflight's picture

I have to say it was lacking in flavour for me. Disappointed as I like fennel. Very boring.

tonyb1964's picture

Agree with most of the other posts that the flavours are lovely. My vegetarian daughter loved it. An earlier post did mention that parmesan is not veggie... this is true but most good supermarkets can offer a veggie version, so worth a look if you have committed vegatarians in the house.

janfan's picture

Very easy to make, and very tasty.the fennel and delicate lemon flavour go very well together.
Will definitely make this again.

craicin's picture

Loved this - didn't have any wine so used a drop of dry vermouth and upped the fennel.

gelid_girl's picture

This is a little confusing in terms of what to do with which bits of fennel. We ended up slicing about a third of the fennel and finely chopping the rest of it. We used the slices in Stage 3 and the chopped fennel in Stage 1. We also griddled some courgette slices to have on the side. All in all it was delicious. We'll definitely be doing it again.


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Tips (1)

tellybwmbas's picture

My favorite vegetable and what a way to serve it! Fresh and delicate..served it with "Warm lemony courgette salad" recently featured...heaven on a plate :) :)

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