Risoni with Artichoke Stalks, Parsnip, Lemon, Mint, Olive & Sambuca
I cut the stalk off and cut away the fibrous outer layer which was pretty thick- I probably ended up discarding more than half of the stalk that way- but what remained was tender enough for me to reconsider what I was going to do with it. Originally, I had intended to make a soup, as the stalks give an excellent healthy and delicious broth- but these stalks were good enough to EAT!
After peeling, remember to always squeeze or rub with lemon juice, to keep the artichoke from oxidizing and turning brown. I cut the stalks on a diagonal in order to have a larger surface exposed and to shorten the cooking time- they do usually take quite a long time!
I put them into a frying pan along with a little very finely diced parsnip, a little garlic and a little olive oil and stir-fried them until they began to turn translucent. I then added some very finely sliced mint and the risoni and deglazed the pan with a good shot of Sambuca. I covered the risoni and stalks with boiling water and seasoned with salt, pepper and a little nutmeg and stirred until the water was almost absorbed. And yes- you guessed it, the rest of the procedure is the same as when making risotto- add broth, stir, add both, stir... repeat until rice or risoni are good and have a firm but creamy consistency. I wanted to only have the flavor of the artichoke, the lemon , the mint and the Sambuca for this dish- so I stuck to water rather than broth, which I thought would have altered the flavors too much.
Towards the end of the cooking time, I grated it with a little fresh nutmeg, added a splash or two of green Tabasco, some finely chopped Spring onion and some finely sliced lemon zest. I served it up with some sliced Kalamata olives, a sprinkle of chives and a drizzle of olive oil... and very delicious it was too!