Mussels are nice when served with bread or frites, but this lemon and fennel risotto with mussels is a complete meal that will satisfy all your comfort food cravings.
Put chicken broth in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Lower to a simmer.
In a separate medium saucepan, heat butter over medium heat. Add fennel, onion, and garlic and cook about 3 minutes, until transparent.
Add the rice and cook for about 2 minutes. Add wine and stir a bit, until the rice absorbs the wine. Stir lemon zest in.
Add 1 cup of the warmed chicken broth to the rice. Stir and let the rice absorb the stock. Once the chicken broth is absorbed, continue to add more, a cup at a time, letting it absorb before stirring and adding more. Continue with the rest of the broth, or until the rice is nice and tender, but still firm. Be sure to stir risotto every couple minutes so it doesn't stick to pan.
When rice is fully cooked, stir in lemon juice, chopped parsley, and parmesan cheese.
In a large dutch oven or pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until they begin to soften, about 3-4 minutes. Sprinkle in red pepper flakes and stir for another minute.
Add the mussels to the pot and pour in the wine. Turn heat to high and put cover on pot. Let mussels cook for 2 minutes before removing the cover and stirring. Return cover and cook another 3-4 minutes. Discard any mussels that haven't opened.
Serve mussels atop risotto. Top with additional chopped parsley or fennel fronds.