Thursday, May 20, 2010

Royal Artichoke Risotto

For Week #8 I'm continuing with the Artichoke theme.  I created this recipe to highlight beautiful long stemmed artichokes we picked up a couple of days ago.  It was delicious.  I the future I will make this for company and/or spring holidays. The picture above shows the finished dish, in a 13x9 baking dish.  The picture below shows one choke and the stems in 10" steam canner before steaming. 

The preparation is a bit lengthy.  You can prepare everything in advance, and store in the refrigerator.  Just let them come to room temperature before baking.

2 long stemmed King artichokes
Olive oil
1 lemon

3 T olive oil
1 med onion, chopped
16 oz arborio rice
1 lemon
1 qt of vegetable broth
3/4 C grated romano cheese

Up to 5 days in advance: Trim the long stems from the artichokes, and peel off the outer layer with a vegetable peeler.  Put artichokes and stems on a rack in a large pot.  We used one pot per 'choke: stock pot with pasta insert and one deep pot with a steamer rack.  Squeeze 1/2 a lemon over each 'choke, sprinkle with salt, and drizzle with olive oil.  Add water to reach the bottom of the 'chokes and steam for 1 1/2 hours.

When cool enough to handle, scoop out the center leaves and hairy choke.  Store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Heat a deep pot over med high heat.  Add olive oil, then onion.  Peel the tough fibrous, stringy outer layer from the artichoke stems, and chop the tender inner part of the stem.  When onions are tender add the stems and stir to coat with oil.  Add rice and stir to coat.  Let cook a few minutes then squeeze lemon juice into pan, stirring to scrape up any browned bits.  Stir 1/2 of the vegetable broth into the rice.  When it starts to bubble, and the remaining broth.  Cook, stirring occasionally until rice is al dente.  Preheat the oven to 350.

Stir 1/2 C cheese into risotto.  Fill artichoke cavities with risotto, then press the leaves to close the choke around the filling.  Sprinkle cheese on top.  Place in 13x9 pan, cover with foil and bake for 20 -25 minutes or until heated through. 

To serve: let stand 10 minutes.  Slice the artichoke in half from top to bottom to expose filling.  Serves 4 as a main course.  Cut each choke into quarters to serve 8 as an appetizer.

What I learned
1. Be diligent about removing the outer fiber on the stems.  I accidentally added a few of the fibers to the was very unpleasant!
2.  If you have help, one person can hold the artichoke open in order to add the filling.  I think a wide mouthed canning funnel will make this job easier for 1 person.  Hot risotto sticks to skin!
3.  You will have leftover risotto.  Refrigerate.  The next day or so, form into patties, bread and panfry.
4. Combine crushed garlic, chopped parsley, juice and zest of one lemon and olive oil to dip the leaves. 
5.  Next time I will use the pressure cooker, and cook the chokes one at a time.  I think the pressure cooker is the best method for cooking larger artichokes with a tougher heart.

The Dish Bitch
1 pasta pot with insert and lid
1 large steam canner with lid
steamer basker
cutting board
garlic press
baking dish

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