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Video: Mastering the art of the artichoke

updated 5/2/2006 3:48:53 PM ET 2006-05-02T19:48:53

Recipe: Whole Artichokes Braised Roman Style

These artichokes are striking. Cooked and served whole, stems still attached, they are entirely edible, as all the tough parts have been removed. The technique for trimming them is simple and should take five minutes per artichoke. Serve these artichokes either as a vegetable side dish or an appetizer.

Preparation time:  30 minutes

Ingredients
  • 1 lemon
  • 4 large artichokes
  • 1 small clove garlic
  • 6 to 8 sprigs flat-leaf Italian parsley
  • 6 to 8 fresh mint leaves
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Preparation

1. Halve the lemon. Squeeze the juice from half the lemon into a medium bowl and fill the bowl halfway with cold water. Trim the artichokes, but do not cut off the stems. Leave each artichoke whole, trimming the stem while it's still attached. Put the artichokes in the bowl of lemon water to prevent them from discoloring.

2. Peel and finely chop the garlic. Finely chop enough of the parsley leaves to measure 2 tablespoons. Finely chop the mint. Mix the herbs and garlic in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Drain the artichokes. Rub each artichoke with the herb mixture, both inside and out.

3. Pour the olive oil into a heavy-bottomed braising pan and add enough water to come 1/2-inch up the side of the pan. Place the artichokes in the pan with the stems pointing up. If the stems are taller than the sides of the pan, trim them so that the lid will fit snugly. Place the pan over medium heat, cover, and cook until the artichokes are tender, 15 to 20 minutes once the water begins simmering.

4. Uncover the pan, raise the heat to medium-high and cook until all the water is evaporated and the tops of the leaves are lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Some people serve the artichokes warm, but I prefer them at room temperature.

Note: The artichokes can be prepared several hours ahead of time and kept in the pan. Once refrigerated, they will not taste as fresh.

Serving Size

Serves 4

Recipe: Pan-Roasted Lamb with Artichokes

Preparation time: 30 minutes
Total time from start to finish: 1 3/4 hours

Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 pounds bone-in lamb shoulder chops, about 1 inch thick
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 small clove garlic
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 3 medium artichokes
  • 2 lemons
Preparation

1.  Put the olive oil in a braising pan large enough to hold the lamb snugly with minimal overlap.  Place the pan over high heat. When the oil is hot, put in half the lamb and brown lightly on both sides. Transfer to a platter and repeat with the remaining lamb. When all the meat is done, season it with salt and pepper.

2. While the lamb is browning, peel and finely chop the garlic and chop enough of the thyme leaves to measure 1 teaspoon. After the lamb is out of the pan, lower the heat to medium-high. Put the garlic and thyme in the pan and stir well. Add the wine and let it bubble away for 30 seconds to let the alcohol evaporate. Return the meat to the pan. Adjust the heat so that the liquid in the pan simmers and cover with the lid askew. Cook, turning the meat every 15 to 20 minutes, until the lamb is almost fully tender, about 1 hour. If all the liquid evaporates before the lamb is done, add a little water. 

3. While the meat is cooking, trim the artichokes and cut them into wedges about 1/4-inch thick. Use half of one of the lemons to rub the cut parts of the artichokes as you are trimming them and squeeze the other half into a large bowl of water. Put the artichoke wedges in the bowl of lemon water.

4. After the lamb has cooked for about 1 hour, drain the artichokes and add them to the pan. Season with salt, cover the pan, and cook until the artichokes are quite tender, at least 30 minutes more.  If all the liquid dries up before they are done, add some water. If there is still a lot of liquid in the pan when the artichokes are done, remove the lid, raise the heat and let it evaporate until the sauce is thick enough to coat a spoon. Squeeze the remaining lemon and add about 2 tablespoons juice to the pan.

Serving Size

Serves 4 as a main course, or 6 as part of a multi-course Italian meal

Recipe: Risotto with Artichokes

Ingredients
  • 1 lemon
  • 4 large artichokes
  • 1/2 small yellow onion
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium clove garlic
  • 1/2 small bunch flat-leaf Italian parsley
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 cups homemade meat broth (page 46) or 1/2 each beef and chicken bouillon cube dissolved in 6 cups water
  • 1-3/4 cups rice for risotto (Arborio, Carnaroli or Vialone Nano)
Preparation

1. Cut the lemon in half. Squeeze the juice from half the lemon into a medium bowl and fill the bowl halfway with cold water. Trim the artichokes. Cut them into wedges about 1/4-inch thick and put them in the bowl of lemon water to prevent them from discoloring.

2. Peel and finely chop the onion. Put it in a heavy-bottomed braising pan with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Place over medium-high heat and sauté until it turns a rich golden color, about 5 minutes. 

3. While the onion is sautéing, peel and chop the garlic. Finely chop enough of the parsley leaves to measure 1/4 cup. When the onion is ready, add the garlic and parsley. Cook for about 1 minute, then add the drained artichokes. Stir until the artichokes are well coated, then season with salt and pepper. Add about 1/2 cup water, cover the pan, and turn the heat down to medium. Cook until the artichokes are tender, 10-15 minutes, by which time all the water should have evaporated. If all the liquid evaporates before the artichokes are tender, add a little more water.

4. While the artichokes are cooking, put the broth in a pot over high heat and bring to a boil.  Lower the heat to maintain a very gentle simmer.

5. Raise the heat under the artichokes to medium-high. Add the rice and stir until it is well coated. Add about 1 cup of the hot broth and continue stirring. Add only enough broth to produce the consistency of a rather thick soup and wait until all the liquid is absorbed before adding more. Season with salt and continue until the rice is al dente, 20 to 25 minutes.

6. Remove the risotto from the heat, stir in the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, and serve at once.

Serving Size

Serves 4 as a main course, or 6 as part of a multi-course Italian meal

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