Tuesday, May 18, 2010

How To Trim An Artichoke/Artichoke Risotto

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If you’ve never had risotto made with fresh artichokes, get out there now that artichokes are in season and so reasonably priced. Sure you can use frozen artichokes and the result would be good (don’t try the canned ones for this recipe) but fresh artichokes elevates this to a different level.

Wegman’s Supermarket recently had artichokes on sale at 2 for $1.00 – a real bargain. The low price gave me the incentive to try something besides the stuffed artichoke recipe that’s a standard in our house. Trimming the artichokes does take a little time, but you’ll be rewarded with the unparalleled flavor of fresh artichokes. 

I’ll take you through the process, step-by-step.

First slice off the top 1/2 to 1/3 of the leaves. Reserve all those pieces you chop off. I’ll show you what to do with them later.

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Then peel away the lower level or two of leaves.

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Using a sharp knife, start slicing through the woodier portion of the leaf and leave only the more tender parts of the artichoke.

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Slice off most of the stem.

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Take a smaller knife and trim the remaining stem and the bottom of the artichoke.

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This is what you’ll be left with. In Italy, you see vendors at outdoor markets trimming baskets full of artichokes and selling them already cleaned for you.

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Next I slice open the artichoke and you’ll see the fuzzy choke inside.

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Take a grapefruit spoon and remove the choke.

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Here’s what it looks like when it’s fully trimmed. You have to work fast since as you can see, the artichoke starts to turn brown quickly. Don’t worry about that too much. Once you cook it, it won’t matter.

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For risotto, I sliced the artichoke in thin pieces. In Italy you can buy really tender artichokes – so tender that slices like these are tossed with olive and vinegar and served raw in salads, with shaved parmesan cheese.

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Put the sliced artichokes in a bowl of water that has half a lemon squeezed into it to help stop discoloration. These are now ready for your risotto recipe.

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Oh yeah, what to do with all those leaves and bits you trimmed?

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Put them in a pot of water and get them boiling while you prepare the beginning of the risotto recipe. You’ll use this broth in the risotto. It adds a lot of flavor, even though it will cook for only 20 minutes or so.

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OK, now let’s get the risotto going. Start out by sauteeing the shallot and the garlic until limp. Drain the artichoke slices and add them to the vegetables, along with some white wine and a little chicken stock. You don’t really even need the chicken stock. I just happen to have a little left over from some soup made earlier in the week. Use water if you don’t have stock.  Keep the artichokes covered in liquid and in about 15-20 minutes they’ll be cooked through.

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Now just follow the standard risotto technique. Add the rice and a little bit of the hot artichoke broth. Stir and let the liquid get absorbed before adding more ladles of broth. Keep doing that for about 20 minutes or until the risotto is cooked but not mushy.

I add the fresh herbs after turning off the heat, in order to retain maximum flavor and the bright green color.

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Top with parmesan cheese and enjoy!

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Artichoke Risotto

(enough for two to three people)

Printable recipe here

2 fresh artichokes, trimmed and sliced

1 shallot, minced finely

2 cloves crushed garlic

1 1/2 cup arborio rice

2 T. olive oil

1 T. butter

1/2 cup white wine

1/2 cup chicken broth (I just happened to have this leftover from something else but you can use water if you don’t have it)

broth from artichoke leaves (about four or five cups)

minced fresh herbs (thyme, parsley is what I used)

salt, pepper to taste

1 T. butter

parmesan cheese

Trim the artichokes and put all the trimmings in a pot of water. Boil it on high heat for 15-20 minutes. Meanwhile, get the risotto going. Place the butter and olive oil in a pan and add the shallots and garlic. Cook until limp, then add the artichoke pieces, the white wine and chicken broth. Simmer over medium heat until artichoke pieces are almost cooked through – this will take about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the rice and keep adding some broth from the pot you’re cooking containing the discarded artichoke leaves and water. Continue adding this broth and stirring the risotto until the rice is cooked (about 20 minutes). Remove from heat. Stir in the fresh herbs, the 1 T. butter and the parmesan cheese. Serve.

34 comments:

doggybloggy said...

what an informative post on trimming artichokes and at 2 for a buck I will keep my eyes open for this deal so that I can trim some up so nice an neat...I usually just go the steamed route so as not to lose a single leaf.

Cathy said...

Your way to trimming artichokes is so much better than the way I've been doing it. Thanks for the excellent tutorial, Linda. And how very smart to make stock out of the trimmings. Excellent post. Thanks.

Stacey Snacks said...

This is one of my least favorite chores, though the end result is so worth it!
I needed you last week to help me trim artichokes so perfectly!

tasteofbeirut said...

Thanks for the clear instructions! Love that risotto too!

Antonietta said...

what a great tutorial! I love artichokes and your recipe looks divine!

Lynn said...

Thanks so much for the step-by-step instructions with pics for trimming artichokes. I love artichokes, but had no idea how to do that. Unfortunately, the best price I've seen around here is 2 for $5.

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

I like your tutorial on how to trim artichokes, Linda. I've attempted it without much success in the past. I also like the idea of not wasting the parts you trim off. Making a artichoke infusion for the risotto is a wonderful idea!

I wish there were a Wegmans Supermarket nearby. The stores near me have artichokes priced $3 each! They would still be a bargain cooked this way.

The Cooking Photographer said...

Linda I love this one! It looks like heaven in a bowl.

Bellini Valli said...

I am still waiting for seasonal artichokes, but thanks for all the directives!!

Linda said...

Oh this looks absolutely fabulous!
The end result looks so worth the effort!
Yummmmm........

Jen_from_NJ said...

Thank you for the step by step tutorial. I am intimidated by artichokes but will definitely try trimming them myself. Your risotto looks perfect!

Claudia said...

Linda, the post is so informative but I cannot keep anything in my head because I keep hearing, "2 for $1.00!" I think each artichoke is $3-4 here. I shall go back and visit again when the dollar signs in my head clear - and I stop wondering if it's worth it to fly to the east coast to get artichokes. I do love the waste-not in this recipe and making a broth from the tougher leaves. Brava. If I lived closer, I'd be on your porch.

Marcellina said...

Unfortunately I have been busy and haven't been able to catch up on my favourite blogs. You have recently posted some fantastic recipes and thoughts. It's 9.30am and I'm starving for risotto (artichoke and the pea one) spaghetti con i frutti del mare (YUM) and orange cake. OMG! This sounds like the best menu! Thanks! Great dishes! And love your post on Lawn to Food!

Stephanie said...

Excellent post! Thanks. Now if I could only find that grapefruit spoon :)

A Feast for the Eyes said...

I'm whimpering for a few reasons. I live right by the artichoke capitol of the world (Castroville, CA). Seeing those leaves cut off...aaaack! I love to dip those in aioli sauce. Then again, the sacrifice to make this risotto makes me whimper more. I need to make risotto more often. Linda, I'm gonna make this. Pinkie promise. Dee-lish!

Proud Italian Cook said...

Artichokes are my favorite, favorite vegetable! I get excited when I see anything made with them, and get delirious when they're 2 for $1.00. I love your broth idea and will keep that in mind, so much more added flavor. Love your risotto!! I have never tried a raw salad yet, but want to after seeing Lidia do it.

The Food Hunter said...

This is very helpful. Thanks

Mary said...

You absolutely have won the "Blog of the Day" award. This was a terrific post. It's Helpful, informative and delivers a delicious risotto. My compliments. Have a great day. Blessings... Mary

Ellie (Almost Bourdain) said...

Very informative post! Beautiful risotto!

Lori Lynn said...

I haven't made fresh artichoke risotto. Thanks for the tutorial! Definitely need to give this one a try!

Peter M said...

Thank you! You too eat the stem...somne folks don't know they are throwing out some good eats!

On to the risotto...even the leaves are in here....total flavour, total Spring.

Katie@Cozydelicious said...

These artichokes are so pretty! I've been going with frozen hearts for many, many months and am excited for fresh artichokes. Thanks for the tips on trimming. This risotto sounds perfect!

elra said...

thanks for steps Linda, I also never worried too much about the artichokes become brown. For me, it is the taste that is count. Your risotto looks perfect!

Daniela said...

Un risotto superlativo. La foro è bellissima. Ciao Daniela.

Barnacle Bertha said...

I made artichoke risotto earlier this week ( http://barnaclebertha.blogspot.com/2010/05/swapbot-week-8-royal-artichoke-risotto.html ) I love your detailed photos of every step of the process.

My husband and I are artichoke addicts. One year, just after Thanksgiving we bought a case of artichokes, about 30 for $10. It was quite the project. But there's nothing like a freezer full of artichoke hearts.

Tania said...

Great risotto! The step by step pictures is useful.

Frank said...

superb demonstration of how to clean an artichoke! The risotto looks delicious... and I love the plates!

Antonella-Vera55 said...

complimenti per questo risotto eseguito alla perfezione!felice weekend

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

That is one refined risotto! So flavorful and gorgeous looking!

Cheers,

Rosa

I Sicilian said...

Just bought artichokes and was going to try creating a new recipe, but I think I will use them for the one you already created. I bet it's just delicious. It will give my brain a rest, I will use your brain instead.

Phyllis said...

Awesome Linda! I've always been intimidated by fresh artichokes. This is the perfect guide for dummies like me :) And the risotto looks amazing!

Anonymous said...

I am not a fancy chef. I have three kids and a really low budget. I happened to get eight baby artichokes at the local food pantry give away. I fallowed your recipe and it was great! The kids thought it was green been casserole and I got to eat a classy adult meal.

Anonymous said...

I am not a fancy chef. I have three kids and a really low budget. I happened to get eight baby artichokes at the local food pantry give away. I fallowed your recipe and it was great! The kids thought it was green been casserole and I got to eat a classy adult meal.

AdriBarr said...

Artichokes 101! This is exactly what I need. I love seeing every step, and the photographs are so clear! It is great to be taught by a master. Thanks!