Two-step fragrant slow cooker risotto

Risotto has an earned reputation for being fussy. However, this easy risotto recipe requires only requires your attention and stirring, because, at its core, it’s really just rice and broth. And when those two simple ingredients come together, they create a creamy, almost magical and perfect winter warmer.

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 large or 2 small fennel bulbs, cored and finely diced, plus 2 tablespoons chopped fronds
  • 1 cup short-grain brown rice
  • 1 small carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 large shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth, or “no-chicken” broth
  • 1 1/8 cups water, divided
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 2 cups frozen green beans
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup pitted oil-cured black olives, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Method

  1. Coat a large slow cooker with cooking spray. Crush fennel seeds with the bottom of a saucepan. Combine the fennel seeds, diced fennel, rice, carrot, shallot and garlic in the slow cooker. Add broth, 1 cup of water and wine, and stir to combine. Cover and cook until the barley (or rice) is tender, but pleasantly chewy, and the risotto is thick and creamy, 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours on high or low.
  2. Shortly before serving, cook green beans according to package instructions and drain. Turn off the slow cooker. Stir the green beans, Parmesan, olives, lemon zest and pepper into the risotto. If it seems dry, heat the remaining 1/2 cup of water and stir it into the risotto. Serve sprinkled with the chopped fennel fronds.

 

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