This is seriously one of the best risottos I have ever made or eaten. I grew my enormous fennel bulb as I said in a previous post, and I looked around for fennel recipes, when I found this one I knew I had to try it. I love risotto and scallops and this is the perfect combination. The original recipe didn't have courgette in it, but because I have loads in my garden, I'm still adding them to anything! The addition of courgettes definitely worked in this recipe. The smokiness of the prosciutto also worked really well with the flavour of the scallops and the creaminess of the risotto. So good.
Fennel and Courgette Risotto with Scallops and Prosciutto (adapted from Delicious Magazine September 2007)
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 fennel bulbs, heads finely sliced
300g risotto rice
300ml white wine
1.2 litres vegetable stock, hot
1 tbsp olive oil
80g pack prosciutto, cut into thin strips
12 fresh scallops
3 tbsp chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
4 tbsp mascarpone
Melt the butter in a large, deep frying pan over a medium-low heat. Add the onion and cook gently for 8 minutes, until softened. Add the garlic, fennel and courgettes and cook for a further 5 minutes. Add the rice and stir until coated in butter, then add the wine and bubble for 2-3 minutes.
Add the stock, a few ladlefuls at a time, stirring in each addition until absorbed. Keep ladling and stirring until the stock is used up and the rice is al dente but creamy – this will take about 20 minutes at a gentle simmer. Check the seasoning, cover and allow to rest for 2-3 minutes.
Heat the oil in a heavy-based frying pan, then add the prosciutto and fry for 1 minute or until crisp. Remove with tongs and set aside. When the pan is hot, add the white parts of the scallops and season in the pan. Cook for 1 minute each side or until lightly golden, then add the corals and cook for 30 seconds. Remove from the heat. Stir the parsley and mascarpone into the rice.
To serve, divide the risotto between 4 bowls, top with the crispy prosciutto, scallops and their corals, and season with black pepper.