In Need of Comfort – Hazlenut and Fennel Risotto

I’m miserable.  Rosie left this afternoon and D’s still in New Zealand.  The house feels dead.  I’m not a happy bunny at all.


Serious blues call for serious comfort food (and, of course, wine) and comfort food to me is risotto.  There is something very soothing about both the risotto making process and the creamy, oozing result.  As I’ve mentioned before, I usually make risotto bianco and top it with salty Parma ham and peppery rocket.  But I have a new favourite and this is it. 


Though I happily munch it on its own, it might be a little simple for some people’s tastes.  Try topping it with a seasoned field mushroom, grilled until juicy all the way through.  Or, if you’re a meat-eater, sliced, rare steak or venison or lamb would be great too.



Hazlenut and Fennel Risotto

(Serves 4)


1 tblspn of butter + extra knob

Tblspn olive oil

Fennel bulb, chopped finely

Onion, chopped finely

1 clove of garlic, chopped finely

300g risotto rice

75g sweetcorn (frozen is good)

Handful of hazlenuts, bashed

1 litre stock (veg or chicken), heated


  • Saute onion, fennel and garlic in the butter and oil over a low heat. 
  • When the vegetables are soft increase the heat and add the rice.  Stir briefly until rice becomes translucent.
  • Add the sweetcorn and stir.
  • Ladle by ladle add the hot stock to the rice and stir slowly but firmly until the stock is absorbed. 
  • Continue adding the stock ladle by ladle until the rice is almost soft.
  • Remove from the heat.  Add a knob of butter and some seasoning.  Put the lid on the pot and leave to rest for 5 mins.
  • Remove lid and stir in the crushed hazlenuts.

20 thoughts on “In Need of Comfort – Hazlenut and Fennel Risotto

  1. Wendy! If I could hop on a little plane right now, I’d be there in a flash…

    Know how you feel. And after all that company. Still, risotto and a vat of wine do it for me too. Well, maybe not a vat, but a large glass or three is good.

    Love the fennel and hazelnuts.

  2. i will have to try this. it sounds lovely to warm up any soul!

    And I know how it feels to live alone… But try to cheer up, things will be back to normal soon, ok? *hug*

  3. risotto is such a great comfort food – hope it cheers you up – and I love the idea of fennel and hazelnuts – will keep that in mind for something different from my usual risottos (which usually have mushroom and pumpkin or spinach!)

  4. I am the exact same way about risotto and feeling a little miserable myself with The Writer so far away in London. Perhaps I will just have to follow your lead and make a nice bowl of risotto 🙂

  5. Lucy – You’re so very sweet. Thank you. You really did make me feel better. 🙂

    Anh – Thank you! Don’t normally mind living alone. Think it was just the contrast of lots of company then none. Must have been the same when your family’s holiday was over.

    Johanna – It did cheer me up! Love the slight crunch of the hazlenut in the risotto.

    KatieZ – Ah, she was! And the risotto worked a treat! Plus some wine. 😉

    Truffle – Can well imagine that you’re a bit down just now. Hope the risotto helps to cheer you up too. 🙂

  6. Oh Wendy how rotten! Just heartbreaking. But good for you pushing your feelings down with food and wine like a true chef! hehe. This looks incredible – I love the crunch of the hazelnuts through the whole thing.

  7. Since you mentioned risotto, I just found a new recipe that I am going to try and you will see on my site soon. It is called Green Herb Risotto – and as you can tell by the name, lots of green goodies go into it. More later…
    Now you must tell me, which wine did you choose to go with your risotto. It looks like a red ????? Was it your favorite Penfolds???

  8. Man, I was just at Amanda’s blog where she was talking about cassoulet, and now you are talking about comfort food – I really think there must be something in the air!

    We just made risotto last night – with porcini mushrooms. I wish I had seen this first – I would have put some of my special stash of hazelnuts in it (can you believe that in Florida they consider hazelnuts “holiday nuts” – they only have them then! – I think they are NUTS!)

  9. Amanda – The crunch is my favourite part too!

    Deb – It was a Penfolds night if ever there was one! Looking forward to that risotto recipe. 🙂

    Jenn – Really? Think they are my favourite nut. Well, after Brazil nuts. Oh, and pistachio.. And.. Nah. Love them all!

  10. Oh Wendy, I know that feeling of an empty house. It won’t be long before D gets back. This risotto looks very comforting. I’m a meat easter but I like the idea of mushrooms. Your mushrooms looks nice and juicy.

  11. Patricia – Hope you enjoy it. I’m a risotto addict!

    Nora – I’m a meat eater too. Just fancied a mushroom! Will definitely be trying it again soon with some lamb or venison.

    Amanda – Just saying “filbert” makes me laugh. It sounds like the Ned Flanders of nuts!

    Susan – I do already. Thank you. 🙂

  12. Pingback: Edinburgh Therapy « A Wee Bit of Cooking

  13. Pingback: FoodieView Blog » Recipe Roundup: How to Make a Great Risotto

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s