The joy of this risotto is the beautiful balance of lemon and bell pepper.
3 yellow bell peppers, trimmed and chopped
about 5 cups chicken stock (preferably homemade)
salt and pepper to taste
6 sprigs of fresh mint plus 2 tablespoons minced leaves
6 sprigs of parsley plus 2 tablespoons minced leaves
1 sprig of fresh rosemary
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup minced shallots
1 cup finely diced fresh fennel bulb
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/4 cups superfino rice
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 teaspoons finely grated fresh lemon zest
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano plus additional for the table
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1. Cook peppers in 6 tablespoons water and 1/4 cup of the chicken stock in a skillet, covered, over moderately low heat, stirring frequently until very soft, about 20 minutes. Puree the peppers in a food processor and strain through a coarse sieve into a small bowl. Season the puree with salt and pepper to taste. (You should have about I cup pepper puree.)
2. Bring the remaining 4 3/4 cups of stock to a full boil in a saucepan, add the mint, parsley, and rosemary, reduce the heat, and keep stock at a bare simmer.
3. Heat the olive oil in a heavy 2- to 3-quart saucepan and cook the shallots, fennel, and garlic over moderate heat, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, until very soft but not browned, about 8 minutes. Stir in the rice and coriander, and cook, stirring constantly, until the edges of the rice become translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the wine and the lemon zest, and cook, stirring constantly, until wine is absorbed, about 3 minutes.
4. Remove the herb sprigs from the stock with a slotted spoon or tongs. Add about 1/2 cup simmering stock to the rice, and cook, stirring constantly, until all the stock is absorbed. Continue adding stock, about 1/2 cup at a time, and cooking, stirring constantly and letting each addition be absorbed before adding the next, until rice is al dente, about 20 to 25 minutes; season with salt and pepper about halfway through the cooking.
5. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in pepper puree, butter, Parmigiano-Reggiano, 1 tablespoon of minced mint, the minced parsley, lemon juice, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Place the risotto on serving plates, sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon of mint, and serve immediately with the additional Parmigiano-Reggiano.
The joy of this risotto is the beautiful balance of lemon and bell pepper. If you like chunks of things in your risotto, you might want to consider adding either cooked pieces of asparagus or cooked peas to this risotto at the last minute before serving. Serves 4 as a first course Recommended wine: Sauvignon Blanc