Wine-Braised Baby Artichokes + Farro Risotto

Wine-Braised Baby Artichokes + Farro Risotto

 

Ode to the Artichoke | Pablo Neruda

The artichoke
With a tender heart
Dressed up like a warrior,
Standing at attention, it built
A small helmet
Under its scales
It remained
Unshakeable,
By its side
The crazy vegetables
Uncurled
Their tendrills and leaf-crowns,
Throbbing bulbs,
In the sub-soil
The carrot
With its red mustaches
Was sleeping,
The grapevine
Hung out to dry its branches
Through which the wine will rise,
The cabbage
Dedicated itself
To trying on skirts,
The oregano
To perfuming the world,
And the sweet
Artichoke
There in the garden,
Dressed like a warrior,
Burnished
Like a proud
Pomegrante.
And one day
Side by side
In big wicker baskets
Walking through the market
To realize their dream
The artichoke army
In formation.
Never was it so military
Like on parade.
The men
In their white shirts
Among the vegetables
Were
The Marshals
Of the artichokes
Lines in close order
Command voices,
And the bang
Of a falling box.

But
Then
Maria
Comes
With her basket
She chooses
An artichoke,
She’s not afraid of it.
She examines it, she observes it
Up against the light like it was an egg,
She buys it,
She mixes it up
In her handbag
With a pair of shoes
With a cabbage head and a
Bottle
Of vinegar
Until
She enters the kitchen
And submerges it in a pot.

Thus ends
In peace
This career
Of the armed vegetable
Which is called an artichoke,
Then
Scale by scale,
We strip off
The delicacy
And eat
The peaceful mush
Of its green heart.

 

This was my first time working with fresh artichokes. I took the most conventional (and presumably the most delicious) route to preparing them – simply wine-braised with a little butter and salt. Come to think of it, most of Spring could be prepared this way – radishes, asparagus, leeks – they don’t need much to taste their best. The risotto has a certain sophisticated mac and cheese quality. All together it’s a delectable dish that comes together surprisingly effortlessly.

Wine-Braised Baby Artichokes + Farro Risotto Wine-Braised Baby Artichokes + Farro Risotto Wine-Braised Baby Artichokes + Farro Risotto Wine-Braised Baby Artichokes + Farro Risotto Wine-Braised Baby Artichokes + Farro Risotto Wine-Braised Baby Artichokes + Farro Risotto Wine-Braised Baby Artichokes + Farro Risotto

 

Ingredients for the Farro Risotto 

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 small white onion, finely chopped

1 1/2 cups farro

1/4 cup dry white wine

3 cups vegetable stock

1/2 cup half and half

1/4 cup freshly grated asiago cheese

2 teaspoons unsalted butter

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Thyme for garnish

 

Directions  

In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 6 minutes. Add the farro and cook for 1 minute, stirring to coat it with the oil. Add the wine and cook, stirring until it is absorbed, about 2 minutes. Add the vegetable stock, 1 cup at a time, and cook, stirring, until absorbed between additions. The farro is done when it is al dente and suspended in the thick, creamy liquid, about 25 minutes total. Stir in the half and half, the cheese and butter and simmer until the risotto has thickened, about 5 minutes longer. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

 

Ingredients for the Wine-Braised Artichokes

1 lemon, halved

1 1/4 pounds baby artichokes

1/2 cup vegetable stock

1/4 cup dry white wine

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon butter

Salt to taste

 

Directions  

Fill a large bowl with water, and juice lemon into water. Reserve lemon halves. Remove tough outer leaves of artichokes. Trim pointy tops and stems. Cut artichokes in half, rubbing them with lemon halves and then transferring them to the lemon water as you work to prevent discoloration. Drain artichokes, and transfer to a large skillet along with stock, wine, butter and oil. Set over medium-high heat, and cover. Cook, stirring occasionally, until artichokes are tender and golden and liquid has completely evaporated, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, and serve immediately.

 

Notes 

Artichoke recipe from here, risotto recipe from here.

These tender and buttery artichokes were given to me by Melissa’s. All opinions are always my own.

2 Responses to “Wine-Braised Baby Artichokes + Farro Risotto”

  1. Olivia Ribas

    What a beautiful poem!! I love Pablo Neruda. In South America we study a lot about him at school (at least at my school) Friend, you did a very good job for your first time working with fresh artichokes. I’ve never cooked with artichokes. I actually don’t think I’ve eaten it before either, do you believe that? As usually your pictures are so gorgeous, my friend 😉

    Reply

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