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Artichoke risotto (Risotto ai carciofi)
Perfectly oozy and comforting
“This simple twist on a risotto bianco is made special with flavoursome artichokes and fresh mint ”
Even though artichokes are a really everyday ingredient in Italy, in the UK and Australia they do feel very luxurious. This is a basic risotto bianco with very thinly sliced artichokes added to it, which give it a wonderful perfume. You need small artichokes for this dish – not the large globe ones. When things like artichokes or courgettes are sliced thinly the Italians call this trifolati, which literally translates as ‘in the style of truffles’, i.e. wafer thin.
Peel the artichokes back to their pale, light leaves, then halve them and remove the hairy chokes with a teaspoon. Immerse the artichokes in water with half the lemon juice, with a heavy lid or heat-resistant dish placed on top of them to keep them immersed and stop them discolouring.
Start your risotto bianco and when you begin stage 3, drop 6 of your prepared artichoke halves into the simmering stock. Continue cooking the risotto, adding the stock a ladleful at a time until the rice is half-cooked. Slice the remaining artichoke halves very finely and stir into the risotto. Continue stirring the stock into the rice. At stage 4, when the rice is cooked and you have added the butter and Parmesan, stir in the rest of the lemon juice. Take the pan off the heat and check the seasoning.
Remove the cooked artichokes from the stock pan and toss with most of the lemon zest, the torn-up mint leaves and a splash of olive oil. Spoon the risotto onto 4 plates and place the dressed artichokes on top. Drizzle with any remaining dressing from the bowl and serve sprinkled with extra Parmesan and the rest of the lemon zest.