Friday, April 16, 2010

Baby Artichoke Risotto with Lemon Thyme

I first made this recipe while living in Florence, Italy for the summer after my second year of law school. We had a gorgeous produce shop, two doors down from our apartment, and we would stop in daily to see what was fresh and seasonal so that we could plan our night's dinner around the ingredients. One spring day they had a beautiful display of purple baby artichokes. I brought a huge bag of them home and made this risotto that night and a fantastic pasta the following evening (I promise to provide that recipe at a later date!).

Spring baby artichokes are just starting to emerge at farmer's markets across the province. I was going to prepare some pictures on how to clean them but I think this fantastic slide show provides more than enough assistance on the subject.

If you would like to make this dish vegetarian, you can easily substitute chicken broth for vegetable broth.

~ Serves 4 ~

Baby Artichoke Risotto with Lemon Thyme
2 T olive oil
2 shallots, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 t lemon thyme, removed from stems
5-7 baby artichoke hearts, quartered
3 hand-fulls arborio rice
1 large glass dry white wine or dry vermouth
4-5 cups free range chicken stock
2 oz parmigiano-reggiano, grated finely
sea salt and freshly grated black pepper

  1. Heat chicken broth over high heat until boiling, reduce heat and keep reserved at a simmer.
  2. Heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and shallots and saute until golden.
  3. Add artichoke hearts and saute until browned.
  4. Add thyme and rice and mix until rice is translucent. Season rice with salt and pepper.
  5. Add wine, scrape up all the brown bits and stir until absorbed into rice.
  6. Add the broth to the rice mixture, one ladle at a time, stirring after each addition until the liquid is fully absorbed before you add the next ladle full.
  7. After about 20-25 minutes, start to taste the rice. Add small ladles of broth until the rice is al dente, or the texture you prefer.
  8. Add parmesan and stir until melted. Adjust seasonings.
  9. Serve with shavings of parmesan.

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