In the Herbivoracious cookbook, I’ve got a recipe for a risotto made with fresh corn and tomato confit (tomatoes that have been slowly roasted in the oven to concentrate their flavor). That recipe is perfect for late summer, but I was taping these videos in the fall, so I made a different version using the beautiful fennel I had available.
More important than the specific ingredients, though, is the method for making risotto. It isn’t at all difficult, but there are a few details which are probably easier to understand via video than the written word. Check it out and in no time you’ll be making creamy, tender (but never mushy) risottos packed with flavor.
You’ll see I finished the caramelized fennel risotto with a few drops of a very fine balsamic vinegar from ChefShop. These vinegars are the real deal – sweet/sour, complex, syrupy from years of aging in a series of wooden casks in Modena, Italy. As you can see from the link, they are costly, but you dole them out in very small amounts, so a bottle lasts a long time.
If you don’t have an aged balsamic, don’t try to substitute with a grocery store balsamic vinegar, just omit it. They aren’t the same thing at all. I think you should consider investing in the real deal though (and then don’t make salad dressing with it!)