Roast Fennel Risotto


From Table with a View: The History & Recipes of Nick’s Cove by Dena Grunt (Cameron Books, 2021)

Makes 4 servings

For the Parmesan stock:

  • 1 (4-ounce) piece Parmesan rind
  • 1 small white onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 bay leaf

For the Nasturtium Pesto:

  • 2 cups packed nasturtium leaves (may substitute sorrel leaves)
  • ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 3 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt

For the Fennel Risotto:

  • 1 large fennel bulb (about 12 ounces), trimmed, fronds reserved for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 ½ cup Carnaroli or Arborio rice
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese


  • Nasturtium Pesto
  • 2 teaspoons fennel pollen
  • 4 nasturtium flowers (pesticide-free) for garnish (optional)

To make the stock: In a medium saucepan, combine the Parmesan rind, onion, bay leaf and 6 cups of water. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Cover, remove from the heat and set aside to steep for 2 hours. Strain the stock through a fine-mesh sieve. If using the stock right away, return it to the saucepan. If not using it right away, store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for up to 1 month.

To make the nasturtium pesto: In a blender, combine the nasturtium leaves, oil, lemon juice, Parmesan cheese, garlic, and salt. Blend on medium–high speed until smooth. Set aside at room temperature. (The pesto will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days; stir well before using.)

To roast the fennel, preheat the oven to 350°F. Split the fennel bulb in half lengthwise. Place the halves cut-side down on a cutting board and cut lengthwise into ¼-inch-thick slices. On a large sheet pan, toss the fennel with the oil, coating evenly, and season with salt. Spread the fennel in a single layer and roast until tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.

Bring the stock to a bare simmer over medium-low heat. In another large, wide-bottomed saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the rice and cook, stirring continuously, until lightly toasted and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add one ladle of the hot stock to the rice. Reduce heat to low, and cook, stirring occasionally so the rice does not stick, until the liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes. Continue adding the stock a ladleful at a time, stirring after each addition until nearly fully absorbed before adding more until all of the stock has been added and has been absorbed by the rice. This should take about 30 minutes.

Add the roasted fennel and ½ teaspoon salt and stir to combine. The risotto should be tender and moist. If the rice is still firm, add ½ cup hot water and stir over medium heat for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the cheese.

Divide the risotto evenly among 4 bowls. Garnish each serving with 2 tablespoons pesto, ½ teaspoon of fennel pollen, fennel fronds, and nasturtium flowers.

Recipe and photo used with permission from Table with a View: The History & Recipes of Nick’s Cove by Dena Grunt (Cameron Books, 2021).