Artichokes, artichokes, I love anything with artichokes. But the best ones are the seasonal ones, very tender inside, just cooked and served with olive oil and vinegar. So I couldn't pass without an artichoke risotto. But, to get a really smooth risotto, you have to pair and trim the artichokes down to the tenderest part otherwise you risk having chewy fibrous leaves in your risotto. —Maria Teresa Jorge
Carnaroli fine rice (not parboiled)
4 to 5 cups
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
lemon in juice
yellow onion very finely chopped
garlic cloves, finely chopped, green inner part removed
Fill a bowl with cold water and add the juice of one lemon.
To clean and trim the artichokes (you can wear rubber gloves as artichokes stain your hands): Trim and pair the artichokes until you are left with only the very tender part (the heart and the initial light green part of the leaves. Cut in thin wedges and put in the bowl with lemon juice so they don’t get dark.
Peel and chop very finely the onion. Do the same with the garlic cloves, removing the inner fibrous part) and keep them in separate bowls. Chopp the parsley and set aside.
Put the vegetable broth in a pan and keep it over low heat so it is always hot. You might not need all of it, depends on the quality of the rice you use.
In a pan with a tight fitting lid, melt half the butter over medium heat, add the onion and allow to cook for 5 minutes until translucent. Add the artichokes and the garlic, season with salt and let simmer, covering the pan with the lid for 7 to 8 minutes. Add the champagne, stir and let the alcohol evaporate completely.
In a large frying pan, over medium-high heat, add the olive oil and fry the rice until well coated in oil and slightly translucent.
Add the rice to the artichokes and stir together. Season with salt and pepper, add enough broth to just cover the rice and artichokes, lower the heat to medium-low and allow to cook uncovered until it’s almost dry. Add another ladle of broth and stir. Allow to simmer gently until it’s almost dry again. Keep repeating the process, adding less and less stock every time you add it to the risotto.
After 15 minutes , remove from the heat, add a tiny quantity of broth, the parsley, the Parmesan, the remaining butter, stir vigorously with a wooden spoon, cover and let rest for 2 or 3 minutes before serving.
You can have the artichokes prepared ahead and in water and lemon juice 2 days in the fridge and just make the risotto when you intend to serve it.
NOTE FOR COOKING AHEAD: If you want to do ahead the risotto proceed until you have a pre-cooked rice, that is, until you add the first laddle of broth. Bring to a boil, cover with a tight fitting lid and remove from the heat. When you are ready to serve, continue from this point onwards - heat up the rice and broth and cook on from here.