When I discovered, long ago, that most people are acquainted with finocchio only in its raw stage, I regularly began to include a cooked version of it among the dishes I taught, frying it, sautéing it in butter, slow-cooking it in olive oil, or combining it with fish. It has consistently been one of the most warmly received of the vegetable dishes in my school’s curriculum.
For this risotto the finocchio is first tossed with sautéed onion and butter, then cooked very slowly until it becomes a tender pulp. Its consistency is sacrificed to a distillation and refinement of its flavor. The vegetable’s herbal piquancy that recalls its kinship with anise pervades the risotto mildly, endowing it with freshness and finesse.
© 1986 Marcella Hazan estate. All rights reserved.