In Italy, April is the month of the artichokes. During the Easter fesitivities, we religiously eat them until almost getting naused. My grandma makes the best fried artichokes you can ever imagine. In those days, they rarely make it to the dining table as we all finish them beforehand just milliseconds after they come out of the fry pan! In this recipe, I wanted to recreate the memory of the Easter days in my Grandma’s kitchen waiting for the artichokes to come out. Instead of frying them, I tought to make them the stars of our favorite dish, the risotto! The beautiful part about making an artichoke risotto is that, in addition to these gorgeous vegetables and the basic ingredients for a risotto, you don’t need anything else! the broth, the mantecatura and the risotto just need these green beauties. This is a very seasonal dish, since you’ll likely find artichokes (at least in the norther hemisphere) only during the spring (April/May), so take advantage of them. They’re so delicious and rich of wonderful nutrients!
For the risotto
- 2 artichokes
- 1 shallot
- 1 cup of red wine
- 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil
- j.e. salt and pepper
For the broth
- Artichoke leaves (the ones that have more “meat” attached)
- j.e. salt and pepper
For the mantecatura
- a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
- Or 10g butter
- Parmigiano Reggiano
1. Start by immersing the two artichokes in a stock pot filled with water (that covers the artichokes), add some salt and bring it to boil. As it starts boiling, take the lid off and set the timer for 40 minutes.
2. In the meantime, dice your entire shallot. Most of it will go for the soffritto, but leave some aside for stir frying some artichoke for the garnish.
3. As the artichokes have been cooking in the water for 40 minutes, take them out, and cool then down. Do not discharge the water the artichokes have been cooking in!! You’ll use it for the broth!
4. Next, cut the stalks of the vegetables, and put them in a separate bowl. You will make a creamy sauce with them! Take out all the leaves, and keep aside the ones that have more “meat” at the end that was attached to the artichoke (it will make your broth so flavorful).
5. Start the broth. In a sauce pan, add the water from the stock pot where you cooked the artichokes for 40 minutes, all the leaves you chose, salt and pepper and bring it to boil.
6. As you take out the all the leaves, you will end up with the “heart” of the artichokes, the best and most delicious part! Remove any little spines that come from the remaining leaves, and cut it into little pieces. You’ll stir frying them and add them to risotto after plating it!
6. Now take the bowl with the artichoke stalks, add some salt, pepper and olive oil and create a paste with an hand mixer. Once you have a nice creamy sauce with no solid pieces, put it aside.
6. It’s time to start your risotto. Throw your cup of extra virgin olive oil in a sauce pot, add the diced shallots, and some salt. Turn on the medium flame and let it go for 2/3 minutes until the shallots get nice and golden and the smell of the soffritto will make your neighbors to ring the bell!
7. Add the cup of rice, and go ahead with the tostatura. Swirl the rice with the nice soffritto for 2/3 minutes avoiding the rice to stick to the pot.
8. Next, it is time to add the cup of red wine. Keep swirling for about 2/3 minutes as the alcohol completely evaporates.
9. Start adding the boiling broth and continue mixing the rice.
10. After 5/6 minutes that you’ve been adding broth and swirling the rice, add the creamy paste you made with the artichoke stalks and mix well! Make sure to add more broth.
11. As the rice cooks in the broth, with the free hand, add some olive oil and the remaining diced shallots to a fry pan. As the shallots are lightly “frying” in the oil, add the pieces made from the artichoke hearts! Add some broth in the frying pan to add that extra flavors. Let it cook.
12. As 18/20 minutes have passed since you started toasting the rice, try out some grains and, if ready, turn off the flame. Add some Parmigiano Reggiano and extra virigin olive oil (or butter) for the mantecatura. Turn off also the fry pan (your artichoke hearts will be so crispy and delicious).
13. Now, plate your risotto. Tap the bottom of the plate to distribute it evenly, and add those beautiful stir fried artichoke hearts. Finally, if you’d like, add a final touch of Parmigiano Reggiano.
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