Champagne Risotto with Grilled Artichokes
Author's Notes: Risotto is the coziest, most elegant winter dish we know. It allows for endless variations, making it the perfect lazy winter weeknight dish. Instead of artichokes here, try adding roasted squash or chopped Italian chestnuts.
Champagne Risotto with Grilled Artichokes Print Recipe
- 8 large artichokes or 16 baby artichokes
- 3 lemons, halved
- 1 large shallot, finely chopped
- 6 Tbsp butter, or olive oil/butter combo
- 1 bunch flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
- 12 oz Champagne
- 2 cups Arborio rice
- 6-8 cups vegetable stock
- 1 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
- sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Prep the fresh artichokes by removing the tough outer spiny leaves, then cut off the top 1/3 of the artichoke. Using a paring knife, clean up the outside of the artichoke by further peeling away the tough outer leaves and tough outer skin of the stem. Cut the artichokes in half, then in quarters. Scoop out the “choke” using a spoon. Squeeze the lemon halves over the cut artichokes and submerge them in a bowl of cold lemon water to prevent them from browning. Store prepped artichokes in the lemon water until ready to use.
- Steam the prepped artichokes until “knife tip” tender, but not mushy. Towel dry steamed artichokes, place in bowl, coat with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Using a grill pan, grill the artichokes, caramelizing the leaves. When grill marks are defined and leaves are slightly browned remove from grill and hold on plate.
- Add the stock to a medium sauce pan and heat over medium-low temperature; this will be added later in recipe. For the risotto, using a braiser, or risotto pan, sauté the shallot in 4 tbs. of butter until soft, be careful not to brown the butter or shallot.
- Add the rice and stir until coated with the shallot butter. The rice should look shiny and evenly coated with the shallot/butter mixture. Heat the rice until it is “dancing” in the pan, making a sizzling or cracking sound. At that very moment, add the champagne to the hot pan. This will create a lofty head of steam. The careful superheating of the rice in the shallot butter cracks the grain of rice and with addition of the champagne separates the starch from the rice grain which results in a creamy risotto that is not sticky. Please be aware this explanation is more my imagination than science, but note this method works but may take a bit of practice and the full attention of the cook to time it just right and not burn the rice or shallot butter.
- Once the champagne is absorbed add a ladle of stock and continue stirring until the rice absorbs most of the stock. At that point add another ladle of stock. Repeat the process until the risotto is al dente, in a creamy base with the rice grain retaining a firm bite.
- Remove from heat. Add artichokes, taste and adjust for seasoning, and if desired add a knob of butter and a handful of parmesean cheese. Cover and let rest for a few minutes. Risotto should be creamy, not soupy or dry. Stir and serve, dusting with the chopped parsley.