Fennel & lemon risotto

Fennel & lemon risotto

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(53 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

    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

    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…


  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, questions and tips

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24th Apr, 2019
I had never cooked fennel before, but my wife had bought one and I had to do something with it. It seemed to take quite a long time to chop up the fennel, but it was worth the effort. The finished product was really delicious and I will definitely make it again. I followed the recipe exactly: nothing added and nothing taken away.
30th May, 2018
This was absolutely gorgeous -- the whole house smelled heavenly. I added the juice of half the lemon as I wasn't using cheese, and I also sprinkled in some frozen peas near the end of the cooking time. What a delicious meal -- now on our list of favourites!
Rob Snow's picture
Rob Snow
9th Jun, 2016
Hi Not sure if anyone made this point, but it states "Make it non-veggie". Well, to be exact you should also point out that parmesan is not veggie either. So wise to use another hard white cheese. It was lovely though, the recipe. Can't falter!!
9th Jan, 2016
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.
7th Dec, 2015
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
16th Sep, 2015
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!
3rd Jul, 2015
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.
13th Jun, 2015
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
10th Feb, 2015
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.
29th Oct, 2014
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.


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24th Apr, 2014
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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