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14 April 2011

Risotto ai Carciofi & Pistacchi (Artichokes & Pistachios)

Lately, I had been fixated in cooking risotti. Whenever I get my hands on some fresh vegetables, they automatically get drowned in wine, rice & hot broth.  Maybe because the temperature suddenly crept up that I feel like winter packed up everything in one night and didn't leave any trace of the cold behind that it's just apropos to eat cold and tepid food.  Since my husband and I enjoy the risotti better when they are lukewarm, not scalding hot like the pasta dishes, then risotti are perfect to enjoy for the sudden warmth we are experiencing.

When I go out, the spring vegetables are so exhilarating to look at that I get the big desire to go home with crates and crates of everything I see.  But I can't. My kids will have a demonstration at home to put a stop to Mommy's vegetable frenzy.  For now,  I satisfied myself with a bunch of beautiful big artichokes.  I used some to cook as side dish to a meat dish and the rest for risotto ai carciofi that I added some pistachios to. 


Risotto ai Carciofi & Pistacchi (Artichokes & Pistachios)

Serves 4
  • 4 big artichokes, chopped into strips
  • 250 g. Arborio rice or any similar kind
  • 1 garlic, crushed
  • 1 scallion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup parmigiano reggiano, grated
  • knob of butter
  • salt & pepper
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 liter hot vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup pistachios, chopped coarsely
  • 1 lemon
  • 250 ml. or 1 cup white wine 

  1. Prepare a deep bowl filled with water.  Cut the lemon in half.  Squeeze the juice of one-half lemon in the water.  Put the squeezed lemon in the water too.
  2. Clean artichokes by taking away the tough outer leaves.  Leave only about 5 cm. of the stem.  Rub the cleaned artichoke with the other half of the lemon to avoid discoloration.  Put the cleaned artichokes in the lemon water.
  3. Boil a pot of vegetable broth.
  4. In another pot, saute' garlic & scallion in extra virgin olive oil.  When they start to color, add artichokes.  Toast for about 3 minutes then add a cup of water.  Cover and simmer until water is reduced to a tenth of its original volume, about 10 - 15 minutes.   Discard garlic.
  5. Add the rice.  Toast for 3 minutes.  
  6. Put the flame higher and add the wine. When the wine evaporates, put the flame down again.
  7. Ladle the broth to the risotto little by little and stir frequently so that the rice doesn't stick to the sides.
  8. Add the pistachios halfway through cooking.  
  9. Turn off fire when you see that the rice is already al dente.  Add a knob of butter.  Add parmigiano reggiano.  
  10. Serve hot or warm.