I've been trying really hard to shop in my pantry/refrigerator before heading to the store. We have a lot of food. Here in Northern California were are having non-stop storms (I fully expect Noah to knock on the door any minute to pick up a pair of Vizslas for his ark) - given the weather, I wanted to to just hit the store once for some fresh fruit and vegetables and then hermit myself away with our tax folder. I shudder just writing those two words.
Anyway...I had a box of DeCecco Riso (carnaroli rice), a few fennel bulbs and half a container of crumbled blue cheese. This is what I came up with:
Risotto with roasted fennel and blue cheese
1 lb carnaroli or arborio rice
8 cups vegetable stock
1 cup white wine
1 tablespoon butter (optional)
1 large onion, chopped
3 bulbs fennel, cut into thin wedges
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
4 oz crumbled blue cheese
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Toss the fennel wedges with some olive oil, a pinch of salt and a grind of black pepper. Place on a rimmed baking sheet in the oven. Give it about 10 minutes in the oven before you start the risotto because you want to make sure the fennel is done before you finish the risotto! To make the risotto, melt butter in a large skillet and add one tablespoon olive oil (or just use 2 tablespoons olive oil). Add the chopped onion and saute over medium flame until the onion is soft and translucent. Add the rice and stir so that all the grains are coated with the olive oil. Add wine. Once the wine is absorbed begin adding vegetable stock about 1/2 cup at a time, gently stirring until it is absorbed before adding more. You may not need all 8 cups so by the time you've added six cups or so start checking the rice to see if it's tender or not. I'm not a constant stirrer of risotto but I do give it a fair amount of attention. Once the rice is tender and no longer chalky (at least 20 minutes) stir in the parmesan, blue cheese and roasted fennel. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve immediately.
We also had a simple salad of baby lettuces, walnuts and pomegranate seeds - the pomegranate was from our yard. Considering it is a young tree and we only had five pomegranates this year it's a big deal!