Artichoke Risotto

Risotto con i Carciofi

This is a delightful recipe from the lovely city of Siena. The combination of rice with artichokes is quite unusual, but really excellent. This has always been a family favourite, especially as risotto is a very convenient dish to cook for large numbers of people and we were never less than twenty around our table. The creaminess of the rice sets off the slightly bitter taste of the artichoke perfectly. The younger and more tender your artichokes, the better it will taste. This would normally be served as a starter, though it can be a main course dish if you prefer.

Ingredients

  • 6 young globe artichokes
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • approximately pints (1 litre) chicken or beef broth
  • 2 oz (50 g) unsalted butter or margarine
  • 2 oz (50 g) prosciutto crudo, finely chopped
  • 1 small handful parsley, finely chopped
  • 12 oz (350 g) risotto rice
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 oz (50 g) Parmesan cheese, grated

Method

Prepare the artichokes as explained. Cut them into quarters and put them in a basin of cold water with the lemon juice for about 30 minutes.

Heat the broth. Meanwhile, in a separate pan, melt the butter or margarine and fry the prosciutto and half the parsley for about 5 minutes over a low heat.

Drain the artichokes, dry them carefully and slice them finely. Add the artichokes to the frying prosciutto, stir together and cook gently for about 10 minutes, adding a little broth if necessary to prevent sticking.

Add the rice to this mixture, stirring to coat it with fat and toast it all over. Add the boiling hot broth, 1 ladleful at a time, stirring constantly. Always wait for the broth to be absorbed before adding any more. Cook for about 20 minutes or until the rice is done. Take it off the heat, season with salt and pepper, and stir in the rest of the parsley and the Parmesan. Stir thoroughly, arrange on a warmed platter and serve.

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