After a season of debauchery with the inevitable over-eating of heavy Christmas dishes we needed something fresh and green to start the New Year. Now most of you will probably not think of risotto as a nice, light, cleansing dish but this one comes pretty close. It’s bright, refreshing, and alive, and without the cheese and butter – which I’ve come to conclude is yummy but totally unnecessary – it is surprisingly light. This risotto won my heart.

2 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, diced

1 fennel bulb, diced

2 leeks, diced

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1.5 cups of arborio rice

4 cups of veggie stock

1 cup white wine

a small bunch of fresh parsley, very finely chopped

1/2 lemon

sea salt and pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil for the risotto in a heavy-bottomed dutch oven. Saute onion, fennel, and leek until tender. Add the minced garlic and saute another minute or two until the garlic is fragrant. Add arborio rice stirring constantly until evenly coated. Begin to add the stock and wine slowly. Remember, the key to good risotto is to 1) stir constantly and 2) add the liquid slowly until the rice is just covered. Let the rice absorb the liquid and then add a little more, again, until the rice is just covered. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

Once the rice has reached the perfect state of al dente-ness add the parsley and the juice of half a lemon and toss. Season with good sea salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve. And have a little bowl of grated parmigiano on the table for those that want to indulge. And enjoy!