I recently shared with you my review of Tessa Kiros’s sumptuous cookbook Venezia, so I thought I would let you in on one of my favourite risotto recipes from her cookbook. This is a delicious vegetable risotto, creamy but fresh, easy to make and the ‘crowning-glory’ is the use of artichokes and mint.
Risotto di verdure
225g (8 oz) asparagus
1.25 litres (44 fl oz/5 cups) hot vegetable broth
2 fresh artichokes
juice of half a lemon
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 small white onion, chopped
200g (7 oz) zucchini, sliced
150g (5½ oz) fresh or frozen peas
205g (9 oz) risotto rice
125ml (4 fl oz/½ cup) white wine
30g (1 oz) butter
3-4 tablespoons grated parmesan
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
flour, for coating
light olive oil
a handful of mint sprigs
Trim the asparagus & slice on the diagonal, leaving the tips whole. Add the trimmings to your vegetable broth as it simmers.
To prepare your artichokes, trim away the outer leaves & cut a slice off the top. Halve the artichoke & remove the hairy choke if it has one, then cut each half into fine slices 4 -5mm thick. (Keep them covered with cold water & a little lemon juice to prevent them turning black).
Heat the olive oil in a wide pot & sauté the onion until well softened. Add the asparagus, zucchini & peas, then sauté on high heat for a moment to just take the flavours. Add the rice, turning it through so it is well coated with oil. Season with salt & pepper, then add the wine & let that bubble away. Add 500ml (17 fl oz/2 cups) of hot broth, lower the heat & simmer for about 10 minutes until much of the broth has been absorbed. Add another cupful of hot broth, stir in gently & leave it to do its thing, adding another cupful of broth when necessary until the rice is tender & creamy (about 20 minutes in total). Don’t let it get so dry that you have to keep stirring.
Remove from the heat, the mantecare by adding the butter, parmesan & parsley & stirring gently. Add salt if needed.
Just before your risotto is ready, drain the artichokes, pat dry & lat lightly in flour on both sides. Use a non-stick pan that will fit the artichokes in one layer if possible. Just cover the bottom with oil & heat up. Add the artichokes & fry until golden & crisp on both sides. Lift out onto a plate lined with kitchen paper to drain. Serve the risotto with a heap of hot fried artichokes on top, plus the fresh mint, extra parmesan & black pepper.
Enjoy and serve with a glass of crisp dry white wine such as a Pinto Grigio.