This mushroom-fennel stew with risotto is loaded with mushrooms and fennel and topped with crispy maitake mushrooms.
This mushroom-fennel stew with risotto is a combination of a perfectly velvety mushroom stew atop an al dente, creamy risotto and served with crisp maitake mushrooms. The combination of flavors is just sublime!
The downside of this recipe is that you do need three pots to prepare it. Trust me, the multiple pots and pans are worth it for the incredible finished product.
You can serve this mushroom-fennel stew with your favorite side. Try this buttered egg noodles, mashed potatoes, crusty bread, creamy polenta, or even puréed cauliflower.
How to Make this Mushroom-Fennel Stew with Risotto:
This mushroom-fennel stew with risotto is quite easy to cook, but will take some preparation and coordination to make everything come together. The basic gist of the recipe is to start the stew first. Once the stew is simmering, prepare the risotto. While the risotto is resting, fry up the maitake mushrooms.
To prepare the stew, start by cooking aromatics. In this dish, I used fennel, a sweet onion, and celery. Once the aromatics are softened and browned, add a minced red Fresno chili (or crushed red pepper). Remove the aromatics from the pot and cook up the mushrooms until they release liquid and brown up. Add garlic and allow it cook until just fragrant.
From there, it’s just a matter of returning the cooked aromatics to the pot and coating with tomato paste and then flour. Allow it took for a minute or two and then slowly work in the stock until a smooth, thick sauce forms. Bring to a very low boil and then reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes as you prepare the risotto.
The risotto is a very standard recipe. Simply start by sautéing shallots in oil and butter. Add the arborio rice and cook for about 2-3 minutes. Slowly work in 4 cups of stock, allowing the rice to absorb the liquid between each addition, until all the stock is added and the rice is al dente. Turn off the heat, work in the parmesan, and allow the risotto to rest for 5-10 minutes.
Finally, while the risotto is cooking, fry up the maitake in a touch of oil and butter. Add half to the stew and reserve the other half for garnish.
While it may take a little planning and a little running between three pots and pans, the finished dish is so flavorful and delicious. Now, if you need to make substitutions, have at it!
Cremini Mushrooms: Use your favorite mushroom variety but this works best with cremini or shiitake mushrooms. Try it with a blend of mushrooms if you like, including oyster mushrooms or even diced king trumpet mushrooms.
Fennel and Celery: You can use your favorite aromatics in this stew. Try it with any combination of aromatics, like carrots, leeks, or quartered shallots.
Maitake Mushrooms: Similar to the cremini above, you can try this with a variety of mushrooms. Try it with chanterelles, oyster, or king trumpet mushrooms into thin slices.
Looking for more vegetarian recipes? Check my archives!
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Mushroom-Fennel Stew with Risotto
- Small skillet
- Medium saucepan
- 1 tablespoon oil for sautéing, plus more as needed
- 1 fennel bulb trimmed, cored, and thinly sliced; fronds reserved
- 3 ribs celery trimmed and thinly sliced
- 1 sweet onion peeled and diced
- 1 red Fresno chili pepper trimmed and minced, or use crushed red pepper
- 1 pound cremini mushrooms trimmed and sliced
- 4 cloves garlic peeled and minced
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1½ tablespoons flour
- 1 teaspoon white pepper optional
- 4 cups vegetable stock plus more, as needed
- ⅓ cup fresh parsley finely chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
Start the Mushroom Stew:
- Heat oil in a wide pot over medium-high heat. Add the fennel, celery, and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8-10 minutes until softened and beginning to brown. Add the red Fresno chili pepper and cook for 1 minute until fragrant. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to a bowl.
Cook the Mushrooms:
- If the pot seems dry, add a touch more oil and turn the heat to medium-high. Add the cremini mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10-15 minutes until the mushrooms release their liquid and begin to turn golden brown. Add the garlic and cook for just 45 seconds. Season with salt and pepper.
Prepare the Stew Base:
- Return the cooked fennel, celery, and onion to the pot. Add the tomato paste and stir to coat for 2 minutes until it deepens in color.
- Add the flour and white pepper and toss to coat and cook for 1-2 minutes more.
- Slowly pour in the stock, stirring to incorporate into the flour, until a thick and velvety sauce forms. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
Simmer the Stew:
- Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and season for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, to prevent the stew from sticking. If the stew reduces too quickly, add a bit more stock or water, as needed.
Cook the Risotto:
- First, warm the stock in the microwave or over the stovetop.
- While the stew simmers, prepare the risotto. Melt the butter into the saucepan and add the oil. Turn the heat to medium. Once the butter is melted and frothy, add the shallot and cook for 3-5 minutes until translucent.
- Add the arborio rice and toss to coat with butter. Cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Add the stock, one or two ladlefuls at a time, stirring between additions. Allow the rice to absorb the liquid before adding more. Continue adding the stock until the rice has absorbed the liquid and is al dente. Do not overcook the rice.
- Turn the heat off and stir the parmesan cheese into the pot. Allow the rice to rest for 5-10 minutes to settle.
Cook the Maitake Mushrooms:
- While the risotto rests, cook the maitake. Melt the butter into a skillet and add oil over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the maitake mushrooms in an even layer and cook without moving for 2 minutes until the mushrooms turn deep golden brown. Flip and cook an additional 2 minutes until crispy. Turn off the heat and transfer the mushrooms to a small bowl and season with flaky sea salt.
Finish the Stew:
- Stir half the maitake mushrooms into the stew and add all but a pinch or two of parsley. Cook for 1-2 minutes more. Turn off the heat.
- Divide the risotto between shallow bowls and spoon the risotto on top. Add the reserved crispy maitake on top and garnish with the rest of the parsley and reserved fennel fronds. Enjoy!