Tonight’s Dinner: Fennel and shrimp risotto recipe

When making risotto, you usually add a nice dry white wine as your base. But adding some tequila gives the risotto a nice little kick and a delicious flavor.

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I’m a big Top Chef fan. I love watching the cheftestants come up with delicious recipes based on one single ingredient. It’s always so inspiring and usually gives me some awesome ideas for the future. Well, a few weeks ago was no different.

For the Quickfire Challenge, the group had to pair tequila (and possibly use) tequila with a dish. Sarah Grueneberg made a fennel risotto with glazed scallops to go with her tequila blanco. Although she ended up on the bottom, the dish still sounded amazing and I was determined to try it. Well, after making it, I discovered why she was on the bottom. According to the recipe, she didn’t use nearly enough liquid to make a risotto. Just as the guest judge said, her risotto was too crunchy. It was also incredibly bland. But I was so in love with the fennel idea, that I followed her recipe and made several adjustments of my own, creating a delicious fennel risotto that’s definitely Top Chef worthy.

Fennel and shrimp risotto

Serves 4


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 fennel bulb, diced
  • 1/2 onion, minced
  • 2 cups Arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup tequila blanco
  • 3-1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 2 dozen shrimp, cooked


  1. Heat oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add fennel and onion and cook until tender, about four minutes. Add the rice and toast. Once toasted, stir in the tequila until absorbed by the rice.
  2. Add the chicken stock, a half cup at a time, stirring after each addition, until stock is absorbed by rice. Stir in the butter and cheese until melted. Add the shrimp and toss to combine. Serve immediately with a shot of tequila.

More Tonight’s Dinner recipes >>

Other fennel recipes

Fennel and carrot pasta

Fennel and dill chicken cutlets

Gratin with fennel and potato


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