Autumn is here once again, and it’s a great time for foodies with lots of local specialities coming into season. Artichokes (alcaxofes) are one of the most popular here, and are abundant at this time of year. The following recipe is a risotto using artichoke hearts and simple ingredients found in your larder. Achieving the preferred consistency and rice texture may take practice, but the results will always be worth the effort. As it’s also prime mushroom (bolets) season, you may want to replace artichokes with your favourite mushroom.
INGREDIENTS (serves 6)
-6 medium artichoke hearts, thinly sliced
-1.5 litres chicken or vegetable stock
-100ml dry white wine
-1 small onion
-1 clove garlic finely chopped
-1.5 teaspoon chopped oregano or 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsely
-3 tablespoons olive oil or 3 tablespoons butter
-400-450g Arborio (white, short grain) rice
-salt and pepper
-85-100g freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for the table
Slice the artichokes thinly (bite-size slivers). In a large, heavy saucepan with a handle sauté the onion, garlic and oregano or parsley in the olive oil over a medium heat. Stir frequently until translucent, which should take just a few minutes. Add the artichoke and cook for about 10 minutes on a low-medium heat, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon and adding a few tablespoons of water to avoid drying out.
Add the rice, cook for 2 or 3 minutes, until well-coated with liquid from the pan. Add the wine and simmer, stirring frequently until it’s absorbed by the rice. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Heat the stock in a separate saucepan or the microwave (just under a simmer). Start adding the stock to the rice about 1/2 a cup at a time, remembering to stir regularly. Rice should cook at a steady slow simmer, bubbling lightly. Taste the rice after it has cooked for about 15minutes. If you feel it needs more cooking (rice should be soft, but with a definite bite), add more liquid and continue to cook to your taste. Add more broth if you want a softer risotto. Remove rice from heat and add the cheese. Cover and let sit for a minute or two. Serve and sprinkle the extra cheese on top, according to taste.