Risotto with Artichokes, Risotto ai Carciofi, is a white risotto with sliced artichokes added at the end for a wonderful burst of flavor. The recipe is relatively simple, but very important is the quality of the artichokes, which must be small and tender – not the big globe ones.
Ingredients and Instructions (serves 6):
- 1 1/2 cups of Arborio or Carnaroli rice
- 4 cups of chicken broth
- 4 tablespoons of olive oil
- 6 small-medium size artichokes
- 3 tablespoons of fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 shallot, finely chopped
- 1 small lemon
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- salt and pepper
- Parmesan cheese
- Squeeze the lemon in a bowl of cold water.
- Wash the artichokes; starting from the bottom, remove the tough outer leaves until the lighter green and tender leaves of the heart are reached.
- Cut about 1 inch (2.5 cm) off the tip of the artichoke, then cut it in half, lengthwise; remove any fuzzy or bristly part off the center, slice into thin wedges and drop them in the lemon water. You can also use the first couple of inches (5 cm) of the stem. Just remove the outside tougher part with a potato peeler and slice into rings. Put them in the lemon water as well and repeat the same procedure with each artichoke.
- In a large pan over medium fire, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil, add the sliced artichokes and stir; add a good pinch of salt, some pepper, the wine and ½ cup of water. Cook for about fifteen minutes, or until tender, adding a bit of water as needed to prevent the artichokes from burning. Once cooked, transfer to a bowl and set aside.
- Heat the chicken broth in a pot.
- Meanwhile, return the same pan used for the artichokes over medium heat; add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, the minced garlic and the shallot and sauté for about one minute stirring frequently.
- Add the rice and stir, so to coat the grains evenly with the oil. Let the rice “toast” by cooking it for a couple of minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add 1 cup of broth to the rice, and stir gently until the broth is fully absorbed. Add another cup of broth and repeat the same as before, 1 cup at a time and stirring constantly, until the rice is cooked al dente – the grains feel cooked but still firm in the center. This should take about 10-15 minutes.
- Add the artichokes and their liquid to the risotto, the chopped parsley and combine well; remove the pan from the heat, add salt and pepper to taste and serve at once, bringing some freshly grated Parmesan cheese to the table.
Cinzia Aversa, 2013