What's for Dinner: Fennel & Brown Butter Risotto

Cannelle et Vanille's Aran Goyoaga shares a dinner recipe

small plates and sweet treats!

Discovering your kid has a gluten intolerance doesn’t have to mean mashed potatoes 365 ways. Aran Goyoaga (and her blog, Cannelle et Vanille) has elevated gluten-free cooking to an art form — all while feeding a family of four.

Her new book, Small Plates & Sweet Treats, is the result of her own deep dive into a gluten-free world. A trained pastry chef, she catalogs her recipes by season and uses a bounty of fresh ingredients that inspire even wheat eaters.

Risotto seems to be my go-to dinner when I am rushing to get food on the table. It is filling, versatile, and best of all, my kids love it. It is important to cook risotto with a flavorful liquid, as most rice by itself is bland. I keep homemade chicken stock, which adds lots of flavor, in the freezer. The pesto recipe here makes more than you will need for the risotto. Refrigerate leftover pesto for up to five days or freeze it for up to a month.

Fennel and Brown Butter Risotto with Parsley Pesto
Serves four

5-6 c. chicken stock
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 md. fennel bulb, diced
½ md. leek, diced
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. ground coriander
1½ c. Arborio rice
¼ c. dry white wine
½ c. parsley pesto (recipe below)
2 tbsp. mascarpone cheese
Shaved Parmesan cheese, for garnish
Fresh parsley flowers, for garnish (optional)

1. Pour the chicken stock into a medium saucepan and bring to a low simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low and keep it warm.

2. Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat until the milk solids start to brown on the bottom of the pan, about 2 minutes. Do not burn the butter.

3. Add the fennel, leek, salt, and coriander to the butter. Cook over medium heat until softened but not brown, about 5 minutes. Add the rice and stir it to make sure it is well coated with the butter, about 1 minute.

4. Add the white wine and stir, deglazing the bottom of the pan. Add ½ c. of hot chicken stock. Stir and cook over medium heat until the rice has absorbed the stock. Add another ½ c. of stock and continue to cook while stirring. Repeat, stirring constantly, until the rice is al dente, about 18 minutes.

5. Stir in parsley pesto and mascarpone. Remove from heat. Serve immediately, garnished with shaved Parmesan and, if you like, parsley.

Parsley pesto
Makes 1 cup

1/3 c. pine nuts
1 clove garlic, peeled
2/3 c. fresh parsley, stems removed
1 oz. Parmesan cheese, finely grated
½ tsp. salt
½ c. olive oil

1. Place the pine nuts in a dry skillet. Toast them over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and lightly golden in color, about 3 minutes. Let them cool for a few minutes.

2. Combine the pine nuts, garlic, and parsley in a food processor. Process to a fine powder. Add the Parmesan and salt; pulse to combine.

3. While the machine is running, slowly pour in the olive oil until a smooth paste forms.

Small Plates & Sweet Treats is available at amazon.com, $20.

Photo: Courtesy of Aran Goyoaga