Sunday, February 12, 2006

fennel risotto

I don't have much to say about this risotto other than it's fabulous and I feel fabulous for having made it. When I first moved back to Salt Lake, I took a cooking class from Tony Caputo, local purveyor of italian cheese and meat (among other things). I'm not sure how beneficial the class was in terms of learning new cooking techniques, but I did get to eat a lot of good food. This fennel risotto was one of the dishes he prepared. I tried to make it just after the class, but I failed. It was ok, but not really the way risotto should be, too mushy, too clumpy, too something. I haven't made risotto since, but I decided to try this again and it was perfect. I guess I've become a better cook in the last three years. I love fennel--in every possible preparation. I can't really think of a better vegetable.

And, on an unrelated topic, I got a letter yesterday from my CSA farmer. It's time to sign up for the new season. I know the market doesn't start until June, but just knowing that plans are being made helped me sleep a little better last night. I can already taste the garlic scapes.


Blogger Lisa B. said...

Okay, here are my questions:

Did you make it with or without the pancetta? (I would make it without, but with regret, since pancetta is ultra-delicious--the best bacon ever.)

Do you really think it's key to have the broth simmering? I used to make a fetish of this, but now never worry about it, just try to keep it sort of hot.

Did you use chicken broth? Sometimes I use wine, and it's damn tasty.

This sounds wonderful, by the way. I love fennel.

9:24 AM  
Blogger Sarah said...

Mr. Tart is a huge fan of risotto but says he's never managed to cook a good one at this altitude--anyone have suggestions?

9:40 PM  
Blogger lis said...

Lisa, my answers:

I use the pancetta because it is delicious, although I think it might be better using less than he suggests.

I'm not sure about the simmering broth bit. I'd say it probably works if the liquid is hot. It might absorb a bit more quickly if simmering, but I'm not sure.

I used a mix of wine, chicken broth, and water. I take Marcella Hazan's suggestion to dilute canned chicken broth with water (a 1 to 4 ratio) as it can be overpowering. This doesn't matter, of course, if you make your own chicken stock--which I hardly ever do. Marcella, by the way, calls for simmering liquid, and I wouldn't argue with her.

Sarah, are the high altitude problems of risotto?

6:54 AM  
Anonymous Mr. Tart said...

High altitude means that ya need more liquid to simmer it in and that it takes longer. I've never gotten the timing down right as a result.

6:47 PM  
Blogger lis said...

Yeah, I guess mine always takes longer than recipes state. I just keep adding liquid until I get the bite I want. If you run out of broth, you can always just add water.

7:41 PM  

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