Friday, May 27, 2011

Artichoke Risotto

When people ask me what my favorite thing to cook is, I never think twice: Risotto!
This one is so full of flavor, I think it is one of my favorites.
Artichoke can be a little headache to work with but it is not difficult. I usually remove the petals, cut it in four. Remove the hairy chokes with a pairing knife or a melon baller. Keep a bowl of cold water with lemon juice aside and put the clean pieces of artichoke in it so they won't get dark. The stalks are edible, just peel the outer skin.
You are going to make a herb pesto and keep it in the fridge. You can do it hours ahead.
Here we go:

1 medium bunch fresh basil – leaves removed from stems
8 springs fresh Italian parsley – stems removed
1 large garlic clove – skinned and left whole
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest (use microplane grater)
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Blend all the ingredients in a food processor or blender and keep it in a container with some plastic film covering it or a thin layer of olive oil on the surface so it doesn't turn brown.

For the Risotto:

3 large artichokes in large pieces, (slices or cubes) well rinsed to remove all chokes.
4 cups water
1 chicken stock cube or vegetable stock. 
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion – chopped       
2 large garlic cloves – finely chopped or pressed
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup of Arborio rice
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon of butter
1/2 cup freshly grated Reggiano parmesan

Boil the artichoke pieces in 4 cups of water for 6 minutes. Drain the artichokes and keep them aside, saving the water they were cooked. Heat a wide heavy-bottomed pan over high heat. Add the olive oil and onion, stir well and sauté for 3 minutes until translucent. Add the garlic, give it a couple stirs, and add the rice, mixing it well to coat with the the olive oil. Add the white wine and stir well until the rice absorbs the wine.
Add the stock cube to the water you cooked the artichokes, mix well, and start to ladle the broth into the rice, little by little, without stopping to stir, after 8 minutes add the artichokes, and keep stirring and adding broth. after 15 minutes start trying the rice to see if it;s all dente or to your desired texture. ( you may need a little extra broth or even just water) When it is cooked to your liking, (it should take 17 to 20 minutes) add the butter and parmesan, give it a vigorous stir and turn of the heat. Adjust the salt if necessary.
Stir in the pesto (add half, taste, and then add more to your liking) Serve immediately.

1 comment:

  1. I can vouch for this meal, Luciana made this for me on my birthday this year and she blew me away. Thanks for posting, I'll be sure to treat myself to this phenomenal recipe!!