Fennel and lemon risotto

Risotto ai finocchi e limone. This is a Valentina Harris recipe. Serves 6

fennel and lemon risotto ingredients

fennel and lemon risotto ingredients

  •   500 grams  fennel bulbs
  •   1 onion — peeled and finely chopped
  •   75 grams  unsalted butter
  •   500 grams  risotto rice
  •   2 tablespoons  lemon juice
  •    grated zest of one unwaxed lemon
  •    salt and pepper
  •   1.5   litres chicken or vegetable stock
  •   75 grams  freshly grated Parmesan or Grana Padano cheese
  •   2 tablespoons  finely chopped mint or parsley — or both
  1. Take off all the hard external leaves of the fennel and trim away all the green bits. You should be left with tender, white fennel hearts.
  2. If you like a very strong flavour of fennel, add the discarded parts of the vegetable, carefully washed, to the stock.
  3. Slice the tender bulbs thinly and evenly. Fry the sliced fennel gently with half the butter and the onion until the fennel is tender, then add all the rice and stir.
  4. Add the lemon juice and stir again. Season thoroughly and continue in the usual way.
  5. At the end of cooking, stir in the rest of the butter, the lemon zest and the cheese.
  6. Cover and take off the heat, leave the rice to rest for about 4 minutes, then stir once more before transferring on to a warmed platter.
  7. Sprinkle with the chopped herbs and serve at once.
fennel and lemon risotto finished dish

fennel and lemon risotto finished dish

Tagliatelle with lemon

Tagliatelle al limone. Serves 4

tagliatelle with lemon ingredients

tagliatelle with lemon
  • 400 grams  fresh tagliatelle
  • zest of 3 lemons — grated
  • 50   grams  butter
  • 50   grams  single cream
  • parmesan cheese
  • salt
  1. Melt the butter in a sauce pan until it starts to foam
  2. Add the zest from 2 of the lemons. When the butter is well flavoured with the zest, remove from the heat and stir in the cream. Season with salt to taste.
  3. Cook the tagliatelle, drain and add to the Lemon sauce. Mix gently.
  4. Turn out onto a warmed serving dish. Sprinkle on the zest of the third lemon and plenty of parmesan.

Note: Use unwaxed lemons for this dish – see comments.

Taglietelle with lemon

Marinated anchovies

Another one of my favourites. It’s really easy, but it takes a while to prepare. You must use the freshest anchovies as they are only ‘cooked’ in lemon juice. If you can’t get fresh anchovies where you are, you can use small sardines instead. Great with salad as an antipasto.


  • Fresh anchovies
  • lemons
  • parsley
  • olive oil

Clean, wash and fillet the anchovies and dry with kitchen paper.

preparing fillets

Layer the fillets in a non-metallic dish, season with salt and squeeze
over plenty of lemon juice.
Leave in the fridge for at least 4 hours. They are ready when they are white all the way through.
When you are ready to serve, remove the fillets from the lemon juice, dress with a little oil and sprinkle the parsley on top.

finished dish

Chicken with capers and lemon

Finally something other than pasta 🙂 This is another really simple dish which tastes great. My attempt to recreate a dish I was served in a university canteen last week. I’m still trying to get my head around the idea that it doesn’t seem to be possible to eat badly here, even in a student canteen!

In the original version the chicken was beaten into a steak, but I prefer it au natural 🙂  It works best with salted capers but it’s still good with pickled. You must soak either variety first though.

If you can’t find unwaxed lemons, you can wash the wax off in hot water.


Serves 4

chicken with capers and lemon ingredients

  4       chicken breasts without skin
           flour for dusting
  50    grams  butter
  1       tablespoon  capers — preferably salted
  1       large  lemon — unwaxed if possible
           salt and pepper

  • Dust the chicken breasts with flour
  • Soak the capers in cold water for a few minutes and drain. Squeeze and zest the lemon.
  • Fry the chicken breasts in the butter until golden brown. About 15-20
    minutes depending on the size.
  • Remove the chicken and keep warm.
  • Deglaze the pan with the lemon juice.
  • Add the zest and the capers and stir well.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Pour over the chicken breasts and serve.

chicken with capers and lemon finished dish

Ps I was in an artistic mood when I took this shot. Didn’t really work though 🙂