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Artichoke Risotto

ingredients

4 tender globe artichokes (see method)
2 pints (1.2 litres) chicken stock
1 small onion
12 oz (350 g) risotto rice (e.g. arborio)
2 1/2 fl oz (70 ml) dry vermouth or dry white wine
2 oz (60 g) unsalted butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1 - 2 oz (30 - 60 g) grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 clove garlic, peeled and grated (optional)
salt and pepper

method

1. Bring the stock slowly to the boil and while it is heating prepare the artichokes; you will use only the heart (the inner leaves and base); if you cannot buy very young, tender varieties of artichoke, use 12 artichoke bases or bottoms (fonds d'artichaut). If using artichoke hearts, cut them lengthwise in quarters, remove and discard the choke, if there is one, from the centre and slice thinly.

2. Peel and finely chop the onion and sweat gently in 1 oz (30 g) of the butter and 1 tbsp oil in a large, heavy-bottomed frying pan. Add the artichokes and fry gently for 5 minutes, stirring and turning them; add the rice, turn up the heat to moderately high and cook, stirring, for 1-2 minutes.

3. Pour in the vermouth and continue stirring until it has evaporated. Pour in about 8 fl oz (225 ml) of the boiling hot stock and stir. Cook briskly, adding more hot stock when necessary and stirring at intervals.

4. After 14 minutes' cooking the rice should be tender, with just a little bite left in it. The consistency should be very moist for this risotto; add a little more stock if necessary and cook for a minute or two longer.

5. Remove from the heat, add the remaining, solid butter and the Parmesan cheese; if wished, peel 1/2 clove garlic and grate over the risotto.

6. Stir as the butter melts. Add a little salt and some freshly ground pepper and serve at once.

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