For the Fish Soup:
1 lb (454g) fish fillets, preferably from white-fleshed fish such as cod, pollack, monkfish, tilefish, tilapia, or flounder, cut into 1-inch (2.54cm) pieces
3 tbsp (45ml) olive oil
2 large cloves garlic, peeled and pressed or finely chopped
Pinch saffron threads (optional, but highly recommended)
2 tbsp (30ml) boiling water
1 medium-size leek, white part only, cut in half lengthwise, rinsed well between the layers, and thinly sliced crosswise
1 large rib celery, trimmed and thinly sliced
1 medium-size onion, peeled, cut in half, and thinly sliced
1 cup (236ml) finely sliced fennel bulb
1/4 tsp (1.2ml) fennel seed
1 cup (236ml) chopped canned tomatoes, with their juice
2 cups (473ml) fish broth, preferably homemade, heated
For the Risotto:
2 tbsp (30ml) olive oil
1/2 cup (118ml) finely chopped onion
1 clove garlic, peeled and pressed or finely chopped
1 1/2 cups (355ml) Arborio rice
1/2 cup (118ml) dry white wine
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup (59ml) chopped fresh parsley leaves, rinsed
1. Prepare the fish soup: Combine the fish with 1 tbsp (15ml) of the olive oil and half the garlic in a small mixing bowl. Mix the saffron with the boiling water and pour over the fish. Mix well and allow to stand at room temperature 30 minutes.
2. Heat the rest of the olive oil in a medium-size saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the remaining garlic, the leek, celery, onion, fresh fennel, and fennel seed and cook, stirring, until the vegetables begin to soften, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and the broth, season with salt to taste, and bring the liquid to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, partially cover the pot and cook 15 minutes. Add the fish and cook 5 to 10 minutes longer or until the fish flakes easily with a fork. Strain the fish and vegetables from the broth, cover to keep warm, and set aside. Reserve the broth (you should have 4 to 5 cups, 946 to 1180ml) and combine with the other broth to yield 6 cups (1.4L).
3. Prepare the risotto: Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy 4-quart (3.8L) pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring, until the onion begins to soften, 2 to 3 minutes. Be careful not to brown it. Stir in the rice to coat the grains with the oil and onion mixture, and cook about 1 minute longer.
4. Add the wine and stir until it is mostly absorbed by the rice. Add the broth, 1/2 cup (118ml) at a time, stirring well after each addition. Wait until it is almost completely absorbed before adding the next 1/2 cup (118ml). Reserve 1/4 cup (59ml) of the broth to add at the end.
5. When the rice is tender but firm, in about 20 minutes, turn off the heat. Add the remaining 1/4 cup (59ml) broth, the parsley, and salt and pepper to taste, and stir well to combine. Serve the risotto in warmed soup bowls with some of the fish and vegetables on top. Garnish with parsley. Serve immediately.
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