Saturday, June 04, 2011

Risotto with Fresh Fava Beans, Onions, and Fennel

1 lb fresh fava beans shelled
1 cup chopped onion
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 fresh "baby" fennel bulbs trimmed, and diced (reserve frilly tops)
1 teaspoon fennel seeds coarsely ground with a spice grinder
4 cups canned low-salt broth more or less (can be vegetable broth or chicken)
4 tablespoon chopped fresh fennel tops
1/2 cup chopped pancetta (optional)
Salt to taste
Freshly-ground black pepper to taste
lemon juice to taste

1.Cook fava beans in boiling salted water 2 minutes. Drain, cool and peel outer skins.

2. Heat oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and fennel bulb; saute 2 minutes. Add fennel seeds; saute 3 minutes. Add risotto. Stir in 1 cup of broth. As broth evaporates continue to pour broth in small amounts, letting the risotto absorb the liquid each time and stirring so it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pot. The process should take about 20 minutes to incorporate all 4 cups of broth. Just as the last cup of broth is being added stir in the fava beans. Continue to cook the risotto until all broth is absorbed.

3. Stir in pancetta (if used) and fennel tops. Take off the heat and cover. Allow to sit for about 2 minutes.

4. Mix in lemon juice and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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