Risotto with grated Fennel, Monkfish and Pistachios
It took me a while to get back in a creative state while preparing our evening meal, jet-lag will do that to you. Make you feel like you fell from some other planet for a week or two and over time you get back into your groove again. I had to force myself to do something new and exciting the other night, but with the use of just a few more brain cells I came up with a wonderful and delicate fish risotto.
I am presently cooking up some broth to stow away in the freezer for future risottos, because it is bare right now and I always like to have it on hand in case I am in the mood. I happened to have some fish broth in the freezer on Friday to make this wonderful risotto. We had some fennel that was almost past its peak and pistachios that we had forgotten to use in another dish. The fish market had coda di rospo, or monkfish, already skinned and without their bones and I figured that I could fry one up for my daughter and add the other two to the risotto. I ended up adding the third filet since luck brought my husband home at an hour when we could all eat together, moments that I truly cherish.
The pistachios were the key to this dish, as I was tasting it during the cooking process I was afraid that it would end up bland, it certainly had a bland color, but throwing the pistachios in right before serving boosted up the flavor and the color and gave us a spectacular meal.
- 1 cup of Carnaroli or Arborio rice (Italians measure rice by demitasse cups, 1 cup for each person and one for the pot)
- 2 oil or salt cured anchovy filets
- 2-3 filets of monkfish, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- ½ an onion, chopped finely
- 1 medium fennel bulb, grated
- 1 cup of shelled pistachios, chopped finely (leave a few whole for garnish)
- 5 cups fish or vegetable stock
- 1 cup of dry white wine
- 2 tbsp butter
- salt to taste
Chop the onion into fine pieces and bring the broth to a simmer. Heat a large stovetop casserole pan over medium-high heat and melt butter at the bottom of the pan. When the butter is melted add the anchovies, when the anchovies have melted into the butter add the onion and sauté until the onion is translucent. Add the rice and coat it in the butter, toasting it a bit. When the rice becomes opaque, after about 1 minute, add the wine to the pan, enough to cover the rice, stirring frequently.
When the rice has absorbed the wine, add the grated fennel, the monkfish pieces and a ladleful of broth to the pan and continue stirring. Continue adding the broth as the rice absorbs it, you want it to almost dry out before adding the broth each time.
When the rice is finished it should be al dente and all of the liquid should be absorbed. Remove from heat and toss in the chopped pistachios and a tab of butter. Serve immediately.
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