risotto with artichokes

This is an easy, elegant risotto with artichokes recipe that was Frank Sinatra and Ava Gardner’s favorite at Villa d’Este on fabulous Lake Como, when they first traveled to Italy in the 1950’s. Chef Parolari shares the Verandah Restaurant’s secret recipe for “Risotto can Carciofi.”



SERVES 4 to 6


6  artichoke hearts

4  ½ tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

6 cups chicken stocks

1 small onion, finely chopped

2 cups Carnaroli rice  (if you can’t find, then substitute arborio rice)

1 cup Italian spumante (sparkling wine)

3 tablespoons grated Parmesan Cheese

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

l tablespoon minced flat leaf parsley


Cut the artichokes into very thin slices. Set aside half of the slices. Melt ½ tablespoon of the butter with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a medium sauté pan over medium heat. Add the artichokes and sauté for 3 minutes, or until soft in the center. Set aside.

Bring the stock to a boil in a medium saucepan, then reduce the heat and keep at a bare simmer.

Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until softened and translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the rice and cook, stirring, for about 3 minutes, until every grain is coated with butter and oil. Then add ½ cup of the spumante (sparkling wine)  and stir until absorbed.

Add 1 cup of the stock and stir until the liquid is absorbed. Add the uncooked sliced artichokes. Continue adding stock, about ½ cup at a time, stirring frequently and making sure all the liquid is absorbed before adding more stock. Cook until the rice is just tender and creamy but still al dente, 15 to 20 minutes. You may have leftover stock.

Add the remaining 1/2 cup of the spumante and stir well. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the remaining 3 tablespoons butter, the Parmesan cheese, and sale and pepper to taste.

Let the risotto rest for a minute or two and serve on individual plates, topped with the sauteed artichokes and a sprinkling of the parsley. This risotto can also be served with any kind of Italian sausage, either grilled or sauteed with sage and butter.



I couldn’t find the Carnaroli rice when I was testing this recipe. I subsequently traveled to New York and went to Eataly, which just opened and is all things Italian, and purchased many bags of Carnaroli rice. It is fantastic, so check out your local Italian specialty stores and try to find. It is worth the effort, but this dish is still delicious with arborio rice as well.



– The Gourmet Review


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