ARTICHOKE RICE (RISOTTO AI CARCIOFI)
Risotto seems a Northern Italian dish, but in fact white arborio rice has been
consumed in Sicily for a very long time, being imported since medieval times.-Stella
400 grams (about one pound) arborio rice (There's no substitute for this
uniquely Italian rice; buy it in an Italian specialty store if necessary.)
6 large artichokes
1 yellow or white onion
1 clove of garlic
one-half cup dry white wine
100 grams grated cheese (Sicilian caciocavallo is best but parmesan or pecorino are suitable)
virgin olive oil
about 50 grams (a small bunch) of fresh parsley
Clean the artichokes, leaving the tender inner leaves attached to the hearts,
and chop into spoon-size chunks. Sprinkle with lemon juice. Boil in a large pot.
When they're tender and almost cooked, add the rice. Cooking arborio rice sometimes
seems an art in itself. Prepare it as you would other rice, but remember that it should
be allowed to absorb more liquid. When served, this dish should be almost creamy.
While the rice begins to cook, chop the garlic and onions and slowly sautè these
together in olive oil. Then add these, with the wine, to the boiling rice mixture.
Finely chop the parsley. (True Italian chefs achieve this with scissors, cutting tiny
segments from the bunch until only a few short stems remain.) When the rice is cooked,
remove from heat and allow it to set for a few minutes to absorb any remaining liquid.
However, it should not be too dry. Just before serving, mix in the cheese and
chopped parsley, and salt and pepper to taste.