I've cooked many risottos over the years, dozens, at least once following a recipe. Well, usually following the basic recipe but often with a level of winging it depending on what has been at hand to cook with. Most of the risotti I've made have been with a bunch of people around, a lot of talk going on with the stirring, and some passing sips of wine and tales of the week passed. Results have varied. Undercooked was the worst, which I think only happened once, ok, twice, except maybe for overcooked.. though that was usually edible. But mostly all the efforts worked out fairly well, and leftover risotto can be good in itself.
I'm out of practice and don't have a crowd in the kitchen area much any more (me not always being the only cook in some of those circumstances, er, zoos).
Plus, I worked up a distaste, maybe not deserved, for a california arborio rice, just before I moved to new mexico - just not the same taste, per me. As it happens, italian arborio, and cannaroli from there or chile is hard to find very locally, and that californian one dominates my local markets. No big sacks of ital arborio.
So, that's the backstory. Well, backstory #1.
#2 is that I had an episode of debacle making roman artichokes - carciofi alla romana, anecdotes over on the "everything you ate yesterday" thread. Shortening that story, I am left with extremely expensive and delicious artichoke hearts and have to do something with them before they crump.
So - I found online a recipe involving artichokes and ingredients I have - that Frank Sinatra purportedly loved (do/did I love Frank Sinatra, no, sorry).
Here's the link:
culling the recipe and quoting - (uh, that would be 'villa')
Who could not love Risotto con Carciofi? In fact, from that time on when Sinatra returned (always, alas, sans Gardner) he made sure to make his first stop the formal Verandah and his first bite Risotto con Carciofi!
Serves 4 to 6
6 artichoke hearts
4 ½ tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
6 cups chicken stock
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cups Carnaroli rice
1 cup Italian spumante (sparkling wine)
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 tablespoon minced flat-leaf parsley
Cut the artichokes into very thin slices. Set aside half of the slices. Melt ½ tablespoon of the butter with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a medium sauté pan over medium heat. Add the artichokes and sauté for 3 minutes, or until soft in the center. Set aside.
Bring the stock to a boil in a medium saucepan, then reduce the heat and keep at a bare simmer.
Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until softened and translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the rice and cook, stirring, for about 3 minutes, until every grain is coated with butter and oil. Then add ½ cup of the spumante and stir until absorbed.
Add 1 cup of the stock and stir until the liquid is absorbed. Add the uncooked sliced artichokes. Continue adding stock, about ½ cup at a time, stirring frequently and making sure all the liquid is absorbed before adding ore stock Cook until the rice is just tender and creamy but sill al dente, 15 to 20 minutes. You may have leftover stock.
Add the remaining ½ cup of the spumante and stir well. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the remaining 3 tablespoons butter, the Parmesan cheese, and salt and pepper to taste.
Let the risotto rest for a minute or two and serve on individual plates, topped with the sautéed artichokes and a sprinkling of the parsley. This risotto can also be served with any kind of Italian sausage, either grilled or sautéed with sage and butter.
For more on Vila d'Este and its cuisine, see the March 2007 issue of Dream of Italy. For more on visiting Italy's Lakes region, see Dream of Italy's Special Report: The Lakes, which can be purchased individually or is available along with over 60 other back issues as part of our subscription.
So I'm going to try this. I only have red wine at hand, Two Buck Chuck, a gift, as it happens. Which means that to keep the dish from looking dead grey, I'll add some chopped tomatoes/sauce, but not much. Both of which make it a different dish. Whatever.
Plus, some of the ingredients were involved in my dealing with the artichokes (waaaaaah!) in the first place, so I'm just adding the broth to those juices.
Some other links -
the recipe where I went wrong - re roman artichokes
the recipe I'll try next -
the website that gave me a clue re artichoke preparation -
Oh, great, I can't immediately find the link. And it was the most useful site so far, re the how to part. (will post when I find it again)
Will update with risotto results.
So, tell me about your risotto wars....