Artichoke Spring – Fresh & Clean

Artichokes: Templeton Farmers Market April 2001

While on a recent trip to the central California coast, I stopped in to visit my good friends Curt and Martha. Prior to a day of decadent tasting of the great Rhone varietal wines of Paso Robles’ west side, we stopped into the Templeton Farmers Market. Though we were committed to a dinner of roast beef, root vegetables and a spring salad, we were inspired by the lovely artichokes that were just harvested early that morning.

Do you love artichokes? It’s springtime and these beautiful flowers are ripe and ready to be indulged. But what to do? More than just a vehicle for aioli, hot butter or your dip du jour, I remember a deliciously clean risotto that will tempt your taste buds and take you on an artichoke adventure you might never have experienced.

Ingredients

Juice of 1 large lemon

4 large artichokes

1/3 cup of olive oil

1 yellow lemon finely chopped

3-4 cloves of garlic, minced

1/8 teaspoon oregano

1 1/2 cups of water, or more as needed

4 cups broth (chicken or veggie)

4-6 tablespoons of butter

1 1/2 cups of Aborio rice

1/2 cup of dray white wine

1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese (more if guests wish to sprinkle more at table)

Preparation

Fill a large bowl 2/3 with water and add the lemon juice.

Take each artichoke and trim the stem so it’s flush with the bottom of the artichoke. Pull off the leaves down to the heart, and cut it lengthwise into quarters and trim the prickly choke, and then place the pieces into the water.

Heat olive oil over medium heat in a sauté pan and saute onion until soft and translucent 5-10 minutes. Drain water from artichokes and with garlic and oregano add to the pan. Add water to the pan to just cover the artichokes. Cook over very low heat about 10 minutes until tender.

In a saucepan heat the broth over medium-high heat to a mild simmer.

In another sauté pan, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter. Add rice and steadily stir over medium heat about 4 minutes, until opaque. Then add white wine and continue to stir until it’s absorbed. Add a ladleful of the broth until it’s absorbed, then reduce the heat to low and continue to add ladlefuls of the broth, stirring until it’s absorbed and then adding another.

Cook until the rice is al dente in the center and creamy on the outside, about 20-25 minutes. Then stir in the artichoke mixture with one last ladleful of broth.

Then stir in the remaining butter and season the mixture with salt and pepper, removing it from the heat. Grate 1/2 cup of cheese over the rice and transfer to a heated bowl and serve.

Take a little trip through the artichoke patch and mix up your own artichoke risotto or other recipe and share the details and photos with us!

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