Once you have a good risotto base you can add all sorts of different ingredients like beetroot, chicken and those forgotten veggies in the back of the fridge. This dish is best served with good-quality fresh Parmesan and a chilled glass of white wine.






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  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 400 g arborio rice
  • 250 ml white wine
  • 1 litre chicken or vegetable stock
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper



  • 1 fennel bulb, finely sliced
  • 225 g frozen peas
  • fennel tops, roughly chopped
  • 50 g grated Parmesan

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


For the base, heat the butter and olive oil together in a large heavy bottomed pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft. Meanwhile, heat the stock.

Add the rice to the pan and stir for a minute or two until well-coated with the oil and butter. Add the wine and stir until it has been absorbed. 

Begin adding the hot stock, a ladleful or two at a time. With each addition of stock, stir steadily and constantly until the liquid is absorbed. Keep adding the stock gradually and stir constantly until the rice is plump and creamy, cooked but still slightly al dente. This should take about 20-25 minutes. Season to taste.

After about 15-20 minutes of stirring the base (5 minutes before it is ready) add the fennel, peas and fennel tops. Continue stirring and adding stock until the rice is al dente.

Just before serving, stir through the Parmesan.


Photography by Greg Elms. Recipe and image from Planet to Plate: The Earth Hour Cookbook (available online, $40, hbk).