CONViVIUM

THE ART OF ITALIAN DINING

RISOTTO AI CARCIOFI

When it comes to risotto, good risotto, I am weak. I admit it. Sometimes you just need to take the stairs instead of the elevator so you can enjoy a bowl of goodness from time to time. And this is the case.

Risotto is one of those dishes that people think is harder than it is. If you can stir, you can make risotto. Stirring and chopping to me is incredibly therapeutic and is much cheaper than therapy! There is an art to risotto and once you’ve mastered the blank canvas (basic risotto) you are on the road to making colorful beautiful bowls of bliss.

During this time of the year in Italy, 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 this personal favorite, artichoke risotto or ‘Risotto ai Carciofi’.  If artichokes seem a bit overwhelming & you wonder where to begin you may one to take a look at THE 5 RULES FOR A PERFECT RISOTTO. Also, below you will find instructions on how to clean artichokes. How easy am i making this for you?!

This recipe takes about an hour total time & yes – you’ve gotta stir the risotto constantly. It’s a labor of love & 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 & that means good old fashion elbow-grease!
Now you have no excuses. Get in the kitchen and let risotto taking you on a culinary journey.
Buon Appetito Amici! 

 

RISOTTO AI CARCIOFI 

Natural Beauty

4 servings (main course)

– 5 1/2 cups (or more) low-salt chicken broth
– 2 tablespoons butter, divided
– 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
– 1 cup finely chopped shallots
– 8 baby artichokes, trimmed, halved
– 1 1/2 cups arborio rice (about 10 ounces)
– 1/2 cup dry white wine
– 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
– 1 chopped fresh garlic
– a handful of mint leafs
– lemon zest

Preparation 
Bring broth to simmer in saucepan. Remove from heat. Cover; keep warm. 

Peel the artichokes back to their pale, light leaves, then halve them and remove the hairy chokes with a teaspoon. Immerse the artichokes in water with half the lemon juice, with a heavy lid or heat-resistant dish placed on top of them to keep them immersed and stop them discoloring.
Melt 1 tablespoon butter with oil in heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add shallots and chopped garlic; sauté until soft and golden, about 5 minutes. Pat artichokes dry slice the halves finely and add to pot. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover and cook until artichokes begin to brown, stirring often, about 8 minutes. Add rice; stir 3 minutes. Add wine; stir until absorbed, about 1 minute. Add 1 1/2 cups warm broth; cook until absorbed, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Add more broth, 1/2 cupful at a time, allowing each addition to be absorbed before adding next and stirring often, until rice is just tender and mixture is creamy, about 20 minutes longer. 

Remove from heat; stir in cheese and 1 tablespoon butter, a few leaves of chopped mint. Season with salt and pepper and a little bit of lemon zest. Transfer to bowl and serve.

HOW TO CLEAN ARTICHOKES? 

Start with a big bowl of cold water. Juice one lemon into the bowl & toss in the juiced lemon into the bowl. Trim the stem of the artichoke so there is about an inch to an inch and half remaining. Rub the cut end with lemon.

Peel off the tough outer leaves of the artichoke until you arrive at the pale, soft inner leaves.

Until you get to this point and the leafs are tender.

Using a pairing knife, peel the stem until the light green flesh is revealed. Be careful not to cut too much off. Rub the entire stem & cut portion with lemon.

Trim the top of the artichoke so there is about an inch of leaves remaining. Rub the cut portion with lemon.

Cut the artichoke in half. With a small spoon remove the fuzzy choke in the middle, leaving the soft flesh underneath. Rub down with lemon & toss into the bowl with lemon water.

You’re done! Now how easy was that, seriously?!

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