Chemist in the Kitchen

August 20, 2018 at 10:35 am

Cheesy Fennel Risotto

Cheesy Fennel Risotto

As fall starts coming around the corner, so does the season for fennel and I couldn’t be more excited! This cheesy fennel risotto recipe is the perfect way to highlight this seasonal vegetable and impress your friends at the same time.


Fennel is a fiberous vegetable that has a texture similar to celery, yet it’s closest relative is flat leaf parsley. Often described as “fresh anise”, the flavor can be described as star anise or black licorice. This type of taste is not everyone’s cup of tea; however, when it is cooked down with other contributing flavors the star anise flavor of the fennel is significantly softened and less pronounced.


All parts of this vegetable are edible: the bulb, stalk, and fronds. The stalks are usually discarded as they are very fibrous and tough. The fronds are excellent to use as a garnish or an addition to salads. Fennel risotto is one of my absolute favorite side dishes, the creaminess of the risotto pairs perfectly with the texture and taste ;-)


With love (and cheese!),



Cheesy Fennel Risotto

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 9

Cheesy Fennel Risotto


  • 1 large fennel bulb, small diced
  • 1 large leek, green part removed, thinly sliced into circles
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 Tbsp grapeseed oil
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (such as Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, or Chardonnay)
  • 1 1/2 cups arborio rice
  • 5 cups of either chicken stock, vegetable stock, or water (more might be needed)
  • 6 oz shredded Parmesan
  • 6 oz shredded gruyere
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a large skillet or rondeau, heat the grapeseed oil on medium heat. Add the leeks and saute until softened. Add the fennel and continue to cook while stirring until soft, approximately 5-7 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook while stirring constantly for 1 minute.
  2. Add the white wine and stir (this is called deglazing the pan). Add the rice and stir to combine thoroughly (this is called risolette, which toasts the rice to add more flavor), approximately 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add the liquid, whether using stock or water, 1 cup at a time while stirring constantly. Once the liquid is absorbed, add another cup of water. Continue while stirring constantly until all the liquid is absorbed. Taste the risotto to determine if more liquid is needed: if the rice still has too much bite to it, add an additional 1/2 cup liquid at a time until the rice is to your desired texture. Be careful not to overcook the rice!
  4. Once the rice is cooked, remove from heat and fold in the shredded cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

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