Fennel risotto with smoked salmon, Sicilian lemon and vodka

Fennel risotto with smoked salmon, Sicilian lemon and vodka

Adding vodka to a risotto may sound a little strange for some, but it really adds a wonderful flavour to the rice and compliments the sweet fennel and smoked salmon beautifully.

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To Serve

  • Head of fennel
    1 large
  • Unsalted butter
    75 g
  • olive oil
    2 tbsp
  • Onion, peeled, finely chopped
  • RISO GALLO risotto rice
    275 g
  • Vodka
    100 ml
  • Light chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
    1 litre
  • Parmesan, freshly grated
    50 g
  • Good quality smoked salmon, chopped
    75 g
  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon (preferably Sicilian)
  • Sea salt, freshly ground black pepper
  • A pot with lid
  • A saucepan
  • Large Pot with Lid
  • Pan
  • Pot
  • Saucepan
  • Spoon
  • Wooden spoon



Place the stock in a pan, heat until boiling, then reduce the heat and keep it at a low simmer.


Peel the fennel, reserving any fronds as a garnish if wished. Cut it in half and remove the woody centre cores, then cut the fennel into 1 cm cubes. Add any trimmings to the stock for extra flavour.


In a heavy based pan, heat the olive oil and 25g of the butter, add the onion and fennel, cook over a low-medium heat for 4-5 minutes to soften the vegetables.


Add the rice, stir together with the vegetables and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring frequently, until the rice is translucent and well coated.


Add the vodka, cook for 2 minutes , or until it has been completely absorbed.


Add a ladle of hot stock and simmer, stirring until it has been absorbed.


Continue adding the stock, a ladle at a time, letting each addition be absorbed by the rice before adding the next.


After 18-20 minutes check for the required ‘’al dente’’ texture -the rice should be tender, but with a firm bite in the centre and a creamy moist consistency.


Remove the pan from the heat, add the parmesan, remaining butter, smoked salmon and juice and zest of the lemon, stir in well.


Cover the risotto with a lid , then let it stand for one minute before serving, garnish with any reserved fennel fronds and serve.

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