Fennel & lemon risotto

Total Time
1 hr 5 min
10 min
55 min
This take on Italy's favorite rice dish keeps the classic Italian fennel bulb in the recipe, but exchanges the country's typical short grained rice varieties for buckwheat groats. Groats are more often a part of Eastern European porridges, but their grassy flavor works well with the anise taste of the fennel in this recipe. One benefit of buckwheat is that it saves time at the stove. It requires some stirring, but unlike traditional rice risotto, it's ready in less than 15 minutes. Serve these hearty bowls alongside broiled, herb topped tomato halves when cooler, sweater weather sets in.


Uncooked fennel bulb(s)

3 item(s), trim and quartered

Olive oil cooking spray

2 spray(s)

Table salt

¾ tsp

Black pepper

¼ tsp

Olive oil

4 tsp

Uncooked onion(s)

1 large, chopped


2 medium clove(s), minced

Dry buckwheat

1 cup(s), groats

Canned chicken broth

3 cup(s), hot

Fresh lemon juice

1½ Tbsp

Fresh parsley

2 Tbsp, (flat-leaf), chopped

Lemon zest

2 tsp, grated


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Spray large rimmed baking sheet with olive oil nonstick spray.
  2. Place fennel in single layer on prepared baking sheet. Spray with nonstick spray and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Bake until fennel is tender, about 40 minutes. Cool slightly. Slice half of fennel; set remaining fennel aside.
  3. Meanwhile, heat oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 8 minutes. Stir in buckwheat grouts until blended. Add broth, sliced fennel, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and remaining 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and cook, stirring often, until buckwheat is tender about 12 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice. Spoon evenly into 4 shallow bowls and top with remaining fennel. Sprinkle with parsley and lemon zest.
  4. Per serving (1 cup risotto and 1 1/2 pieces fennel)