But fo' realsies (are people with PhDs even allowed to say that?)... you can't expect me to study on an empty stomach, right? I couldn't possibly! And really, I would be a terrible study group host if I didn't provide dinner. It is the least I can do in return for all of the knowledge about polyamides and morpholinos bestowed upon me during this knowledge transfer session. Knowledge that was served up hot on a plate of caramelized leek and fennel risotto. Mmmmmm.
The caramelization of the leeks add a delicate sweetness to the risotto that so nicely compliments the fennel and cardamom. Especially since the leeks sort of melt during the process to coat every little morsel perfectly. The fennel retains enough of a crunch so that you have some texture up in there (why does she keep getting ghetto on us?). Best served with some hearty greens (I chose kale) and great company :-).
Leek and Fennel Risotto
- 1 leek
- 1 fennel bulb, diced
- olive oil
- 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 1 teaspoon cardamom
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 cup arborio rice, pre-rinsed
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 2 cups vegetable stock, warmed
- salt and pepper
- To clean the leek: cut off the dark green portion, halve and then slice the remaining white/light green part. Transfer slices to a bowl and cover with cold water. Mix it all around to separate the pieces and allow any dirt to wash away. Let it sit in the bowl for a few minutes, with a couple changes of water, and then drain. All clean!
- Heat up a few swirls of olive oil over medium heat in a medium stock pot.
- Add the leeks, fennel, cardamom, and sugar, and a pinch of salt and pepper.
- Cook over medium-low heat, with occasional stirring for about 15 minutes.
- Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant.
- Add the rice and sauté for a few minutes, until the rice is translucent.
- Add the wine and cook until it has been absorbed/evaporated.
- Add the stock, one ladle full at a time, until the rice is cooked but still al dente.
- Turn off heat and allow the risotto to sit for a couple of minutes.