Fennel Shitake Risotto with Cheesy Tang and Sunny-side Topper


¼ cup olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

1 fennel bulb, chopped with some of the fronds (about 2 cups)

4 large garlic cloves, chopped

1 pound shitake mushrooms, stems removed and tops julienned

1 small red bell pepper, chopped

1 cup Arborio rice

1 tsp. salt

2 tsp. black pepper

1 Tbs. anise flavored liqueur

1 cup white wine

3 cups chicken or vegetable stock

1 cup light cream

1 cup Stella Parmesan cheese, grated

1 cup Stella Asiago cheese, grated

3 Tbs. fresh tarragon, chopped

3 Tbs. butter

6 eggs


In a large skillet with sides, heat olive oil.  Sauté onions, fennel and garlic in oil until soft and fragrant, about 5 minutes.  Add mushrooms and red pepper and cook for another 5 minutes.


Add the rice, salt, pepper, and anise liqueur to the pan, continuing to cook for another 5 minutes, stirring frequently until the rice is well coated and begins to get toasty.  Add the white wine to the pan and stir constantly until all of the liquid is absorbed.  Add stock in small increments, stirring constantly, waiting for the liquid to absorb before adding more.  Once all of the stock been added and the rice begins to plump, add the light cream.  Test the rice for chewy but slightly firm consistency.  Add a little water if rice is too firm.


Stir in cheeses and tarragon, reserving one tablespoon of each for garnish.  Set aside and keep warm.


In a large non-stick frying pan, melt butter over medium low heat.  Gingerly crack eggs into the pan, taking care not to overcrowd, and cook until the whites are set.  It may be best to make the eggs in batches depending on the size of your skillet.


Serve about 1 cup of the risotto, topped with a sunny-side egg and garnished with the remaining cheese and tarragon.  Devour.