If I was to be honest I would say that my heart is in Asia, so picking Italy as my spiritual home is not an obvious choice, though nor is it completely left field. My experience of Italy is limited. In fact I have only been there once, over 10 years ago now, when I spent 2 weeks there with a good friend from boarding school. Whilst it was a quick trip, the architecture, art and history all made a lasting impression and many a meal out firmly cemented my love for Italian Cuisine.
So it is with this in mind, and recently having discovered that our humble blog is missing what could possibly be deemed the king of all rice dishes (risotto), that I picked Italian food as inspiration for this month’s theme. I decided upon fennel risotto as fennel bulb, with its crisp texture and delicate, fresh aniseed flavour is something which has only very recently made its way into my kitchen. It’s not that I wasn’t aware of its existence in this world, or that I had never eaten it before, because I had. It is just that it had never occurred to me to use it in my cooking.
This recipe uses both fennel seed and fennel bulb, which, when combined with garlic, chilli and lemon give this risotto a zesty, full bodied flavour. If the response it received when I brought it into work is anything to go by then be sure to add this recipe to your ‘to cook’ list.