• 2 tsp. fennel seeds
  • 1 large or 2 small fennel bulbs, cored and finely diced, plus 2 T. chopped fronds
  • 1 c. pearl barley, or short-grain brown rice
  • 1 small carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 large shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 c. reduced-sodium chicken broth, or “no-chicken” broth or vegetable broth for vegetarians
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups water, divided
  • 1/3 c. dry white wine
  • 2 c. frozen French-cut green beans
  • 1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 c. pitted oil-cured black olives, coarsely chopped
  • 1 T. freshly grated lemon zest
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste

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  1. Coat a 4-quart or larger slow cooker with cooking spray.
  2. Crush fennel seeds with the bottom of a saucepan. Combine the fennel seeds, diced fennel, barley (or rice), carrot, shallot and garlic in the slow cooker.
  3. Add broth, 1 cup water and wine, and stir to combine.
  4. Cover. Cook until the barley (or rice) is tender, but pleasantly chewy, and the risotto is thick and creamy, 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours on high or 5-6 hours on Low.
  5. Shortly before serving, cook green beans according to package instructions and drain. Turn off the slow cooker. Stir the green beans, Parmesan, olives, lemon zest and pepper into the risotto.

NOTE: If it seems dry, heat the remaining 1/2 cup water and stir it into the risotto. Serve sprinkled with the chopped fennel fronds.

Happy Crocking!

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