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Overflowing crates of artichokes fill the market streets - a sure sign that Spring is on its way! So what to do with these edible flowers - try one of my favs - artichoke risotto.
This recipe takes about an hour total time and yes - you've gotta stir the risotto constantly. It's a labor of love and your work won't go unnoticed (hence the clean bowls!) You'll find some recipes with short-cuts however to really get the creamy chewy consistency you must work the starch from the rice and that means good old fashion elbow-grease!
- 5 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 garlic clove
- 8 fresh artichoke
- 5 cups or so fresh vegetable stock
- ¾ cup dry white wine
- Scant 2 cups rice - arborio or carnaroli
- salt and pepper
- Parmesan cheese or Pecorino Romano cheese
- Start by cleaning and chopping your artichokes (click here for help) and soaking them in lemon water.
- Heat the oil in a pan, add the onion and garlic and cook for 10 minutes or so over med-low heat without browning.
- Add artichokes and sauté them slowly until tender - so you could mush with a fork.
- Add a couple of spoonfuls of vegetable stock to help the process along and keep from browning the chokes.
- Now raise the heat, add the rice and saute for a minute or two. Add in the wine and let it evaporate.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Meanwhile, bring the stock to a boil in another pan.
- Add a ladleful of the hot stock and cook, stirring, until it has been absorbed into the rice.
- Continue adding the stock, a ladleful at a time, constantly stirring until each addition has been absorbed. This will take 18 – 20 minutes.
- When the rice is al dente, turn off the heat, add in a handful or two of grated cheese and give the rice one more stir, check seasoning. Rice should be thick and creamy but not runny. Cover the pot and allow the rice to sit for a couple of minutes.
- To serve, spoon the rice into the bowls and sprinkle with Parmesan, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and serve immediately.
- Buy a couple of extra chokes and you can top the dish with a couple of the hearts steamed or boiled separately.
While in this case garlic is not essential and may be omitted depending on the cook's taste, either olive oil or butter (unsalted) should be added with Parmesan (alternatively Pecorino Romano) at step 10, instead of step 11. In Italian, this is called mantecatura and is what sets aside a risotto from a dressed rice dish.