Tessa Kiros’s Vegetable Risotto
Risotto di Verdure
The winning stroke here is the fried artichokes on top, as suggested by my friend Sergia. The combination of the artichokes and fresh mint to pull through the risotto as you are eating is truly great. When you are making your vegetable broth, be sure to add the trimmings from the asparagus to give a depth of flavour.
1.25 litres hot vegetable broth
2 fresh artichokes
juice of half a lemon
4 tbsp olive oil
1 small white onion, chopped
200g courgettes, sliced
150g fresh or frozen peas
250g risotto rice
125ml white wine
3-4 tbsp grated parmesan
2 tbsp chopped parsley
flour, for coating
light olive oil
a handful of mint sprigs
Trim the asparagus and 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 and cut a slice off the top. Halve the artichoke and remove the hairy choke if it has one, then cut each half into fine slices 4-5mm thick. (Keep them covered with cold water and a little lemon juice to prevent them turning black.)
Heat the olive oil in a wide pot and sauté the onion until well softened. Add the asparagus, zucchini and peas and 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 and pepper, then add the wine and let that bubble away. Add 500ml hot broth, lower the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes until much of the broth has been absorbed. Add another cupful of hot broth, stir in gently and then leave it to do its thing, adding another cupful of broth when necessary until the rice is tender and creamy (about 20 minutes in total). Don’t let it get so dry that you have to keep stirring.
Remove from the heat, then mantecare by adding the butter, parmesan and parsley and stirring gently. Add salt if needed.
Just before your risotto is ready, drain the artichokes, pat dry and pat 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 and heat up. Add the artichokes and fry until golden and 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 and black pepper.
Extracted from Venezia by Tessa Kiros (Murdoch Books, approx €25), out now. Photography by Manos Chatzikonstantis.