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Risotto with Crab, Fennel and Meyer Lemon Gremolata

Recipe and notes courtesy of Joyce Goldstein, adapted from Back to Square One.

“The sweetness of the crabmeat is accented by the sweetness of the fennel. The cooking time for risotto is about 20 – 25 minutes. The rice cannot be rushed. It takes time for the broth to be absorbed gradually and the right texture attained. Only Italian short grain Arborio rice will work for a genuine risotto. It holds a firm center while the outside produces the creamy sauce consistency to the broth. You may enrich this with butter at the end.”

Serves: 6

Ingredients:
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons mild olive oil
2 cups diced yellow onion
2 bulbs fennel, cut into dice
2 cups Arborio rice
6 cups fish or chicken stock
1 pound picked over crab meat
Salt and pepper to taste

Gremolata:
3 tablespoons crated Meyer lemon zest
4 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley
1 tablespoon minced garlic

Preparation:
1. Warm the butter and olive oil over moderate heat in a large high sided saute pan or a wide saucepan. Add the onions and saute for 5 minutes over low heat. Add the fennel and sauté until the onions are translucent and sweet, about another 5 to 7 minutes.
2. While the onions are cooking, bring the stock to a boil. Reduce the heat and keep stock at a simmer.
3. Add the rice to the onions and fennel and cook, stirring occasionally for about 3 to 5 minutes, over low heat until the rice is opaque. Add 1 cup of stock and stir until it is absorbed. Add another cup of the stock and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally.
4. Repeat with 2 more cups of stock, stirring occasionally as they liquid is absorbed. Add the crabmeat and heat through. Add the rest of the stock as needed for the rice to attain an al dente texture and a creamy base.
5. Season with salt and pepper. Whisk in 2 to 3 tablespoons unsalted butter if you like and the gremolata.

This can also be made with cubes of salmon, sauteed in a little oil or butter and added the last 3 -5 minutes of cooking.