- 2L/ 8 cups chicken stock
- ½ cup Fava Beans
- 2 tbsp. Olive oil
- 4 artichoke hearts
- 1 large zucchini
- ½ cup Red wine
- 1 small Onions
- 1 Celery ribwithout the leaves
- 2 cloves Garlic
- 1 tbsp. Butter
- 2½ cups Risotto Rice
- ½ cup parsleya small bunch
- 3 branches Za'atar
- 1/4 cup Olive oil
- 1 tsp. Kosher Salt
- 1 tsp. Pepper
- from ½ lemon Lemon Juice
- 50g/ 3 tbsp. Butter
- 50g/ 2 oz. grated Pecorino
- 50g/ 2 oz. Parmesan cheese
Making risotto is one of those things that I love to make on one hand but on the other it takes time and require my full attention. Overlooking a risotto is a mistake that you don’t want to make, it will resolve in a pizza delivery for dinner.
Fact is, I really like risotto, in all its shapes and forms, but what attracts me most is making a seasonal risotto, taking advantage of the veggies that in their peak of their flavor, this is when I came up with the artichoke and zucchini risotto.
In this delicious greenish looking risotto, I use artichokes, zucchini, fava beans, parsley and fresh zaatar, some of these ingredients go straight into the risotto in their natural form and some will be grinded into a paste that will be mixed in the risotto for an extra creamy feeling and flavor.
The paste is the connection between the big chunks of the vegetables and the risotto itself since it contains the veggies flavor in it, I mean, throwing stuff into a risotto dish does not have an additional value if a connection is not clearly made.
Would you care to have some of this oozy stuff? guidelines for the perfect Risotto
- Cooking your chicken broth with the fava beans, I know it sounds strange but you achieve two things by doing so, first the fava beans are cooked to perfection since the chicken stock is cooked for about 30 minutes, second, the stock is gaining the fava beans earthy flavors which is what this dish is all about.
- Stir frying the artichokes and zucchini in olive oil to release their flavors. I’m using fresh artichokes, I recommend using the fresh ones, here’s a guide on how to peel artichokes if you’re intimidated with this task. If using frozen artichokes cook it first in boiling water for 5 minutes and then stir fry them with the zucchinis. This is the base of our paste so it’s very important that the artichokes and zucchini will be tender.
- Making the paste from half of the zucchinis and artichokes quantity plus adding some olive oil and lemon to create a great paste that will give this risotto its earthy light flavors. I added fresh zaatar leaves to kick the paste to the next level.
- After the zucchini and artichoke mix is out of the pan, don’t clean it, indeed it will be dirty, just pour in the wine and scrape it, the residue of the veggies is full of flavor, yes, we definitely want it! only after it’s been scrubbed out we can start the risotto, this is a major flavor booster.
The risotto process is pretty standard afterwards with few changes, I can say this though, in this risotto I probably used the lowest amounts of butter and cheese but it feels so creamy and delicious you won’t even notice.
cooking the broth
stir fry the vegetables
starting the risotto
Pour the wine onto the pan and scrape the vegetables residue with a wooden spoon. add the butter, onion, celery and garlic, and cook for about 3 minutes until transparent, add the butter and risotto and cook for another 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and pour in the chicken-fava bean stock and constantly stir until the liquids are fully absorbed in the risotto and continue to do so for the next 15 minutes , adding stock and stirring until the risotto begins to be tender, oozy and transparent.
Making the paste
finishing the risotto
Toss in the other half of the artichoke-zucchini mix into the pan, add our green paste and stir well. Continue to add chicken stock constantly when absorbed and cook the risotto some more until it feels al dente, the grain should be firm but sticky.