vegetable risotto (risotto di verdure)

May 24, 2013 § 48 Comments

In a previous post I mentioned my admiration for Tessa Kiros and her fine cookbook Apples for Jam.  I adore this cookbook and in my opinion it is written for me.  My particular copy is far from being gently used.  The dust cover is tattered and torn and many of its pages are a bit warped and spattered with the ingredients the recipe is calling for.  I thought about picking up a nice new crisp copy, but then realized I couldn’t possibly replace my characterized volume.   On a visit to the library the other day I acquired another one of Tessa’s cookbooks, Venezia. Looking through the recipes I stumbled upon this vegetable risotto.  With all ingredients in season I decided we would have this for dinner.  Being a borrowed book from the library I just better keep the pages clean!

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This risotto recipe was terrific.  It had all the substantial textures and flavor you want from a spring vegetable risotto.  The crispy artichoke was a impressive way to top it off.  When you prepare the artichokes I found it is very important to make sure you completely cut the tough parts of the leaves off.  Next time I prepare this I will use baby artichokes if they are in season.  I treasure baby artichokes because the whole globe is tender therefore no need to cut so much away and the hairy choke is nonexistent.

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Ingredients

  • 1 bunch of asparagus (about 12)
  • 5 cups of hot vegetable broth
  • 1 large artichoke (6 baby artichokes)
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small white onion, chopped
  • 3 or 4 young zucchinis, sliced
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen peas
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan
  • 2 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • all-purpose flour, for coating
  • light olive oil
  • handful of mint sprigs

Method

To prepare the artichoke, trim away the tough outer leaves and slice off the top.  Halve the artichoke and remove the hairy choke.  Cut into thin slices.  Place in a bowl with cold water and lemon juice to prevent them from darkening.

To simplify the process, have all your ingredients prepared and measured before you start cooking the risotto.

Heat the olive oil in a large deep skillet and sauté the onion until softened.  Add the asparagus, zucchini and peas and sauté on high heat for a few minutes.  Add the rice, mix through the vegetables to coat well.  Season with salt and pepper, add the wine and allow it to bubble away.  Add 2 cups of hot broth, lower the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes until the broth has been absorbed.  Add another cup of hot broth, stirring gently.  Do not allow the risotto to get too dry.  Continue to add a cup of hot broth when necessary as it is absorbed, for about 20 minutes, or until the rice is tender.  Remove from heat and gently add butter, parmesan and parsley.

Just before your risotto is ready, drain the artichokes, pat dry with paper towels and lightly dip each side in flour.  Using a non stick skillet cover the bottom with olive oil and fry artichokes until golden and crisp on both sides.  Transfer onto paper towels to s0ak off excessive oil.

Serve the risotto with a heap of fried artichokes, fresh mint and extra parmesan.

Serves 4.

buon appetite!

giant globe artichokes

April 5, 2013 § 4 Comments

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I was delighted when I walked into the market yesterday and saw these displayed front and center of the produce section.  Each clearly deserves center stage. These are huge!  A one pot meal.  I brought home two and this evening I plan on steaming them for 50 minutes.  The leaves are meaty, with an earthy, nutty taste.  We have prepared many different dips for steamed artichokes.  I have made sauces from butter, mayonnaise, greek yogurt…the list goes on.  I did a little search and found this great source for dipping recipes.

In our family we have a little difference of opinion around the table every time we eat artichokes.  The matter being, how to properly eat your artichoke.  Is it leaf facing up or down.  Do your use your top or bottom teeth for scooping?  We always have fun with it.  Let me know…

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