Wednesday, 27 January 2016

One Pot Luck!

Pilau di Riso & Carciofi
Rice & Artichoke Pilau

How do you turn a simple artichoke, adding only a few more simple ingredients, into an exquisite, full meal? Without going to a lot of effort or breaking the bank balance? 

You add the right, simple ingredients, a little patience and around 1 hours cooking time and let it take care of itself! That''s how!

With literally just a couple of handfuls of rice and the most commonplace vegetables, a little ginger, a few herbs and a little patience, this elegant little dish can be made, in one pan, and with satisfaction guaranteed... word!

For 2 discreet servings, you will need 1 medium sized artichoke, 1 shallot, 1 small carrot, 1/2 stalk of celery, 9-10 cherry tomatoes, a little ginger, fresh mint and parsley, salt, pepper, a little vegetable stock, a little lemon juice to prevent the artichoke from discoloring, a couple of handfuls of rice and some good olive oil... but that's all!

Although the ingredients are simple and indeed inexpensive, the flavors are rich and delicious and the look is amazing... and as it is so easy to make- I would really recommend it!

Begin by trimming the artichoke down. Remove the tougher, outer leaves, cut away about 2/3rds of the remaining leaves (which are inedible anyway), peel the stem carefully and then cut it into quarters, lengthways.

And if the stalk is as juicy and tender as this one was- DO leave it intact! It tastes delicious!

Cut out the "choke" from each quarter, sprinkle with lemon juice and then fry in a little olive oil until it becomes slightly brown.

Whilst the artichoke is sizzling away, finely dice the carrot, shallot, a little ginger and celery into a "sofritto" and add this to the pan to sweat down a little and for some aroma to develop.

After 2-3 minutes, add the cherry tomatoes, cut into quarters, plenty of finely chopped mint and parsley, and fry for a further 2-3 minutes.

Add enough light vegetable broth to cover the artichokes and let them boil on a low flame for 15 minutes.

After 15 minutes, add the rice, check the seasoning and adjust if necessary, then return the lid and allow to simmer away on a low heat for 30 minutes or so.

It will basically take care of itself, but it may be an idea to check after 15 minutes or so, to see if it needs any added broth or water.

After 30 minutes, most of the water will have been absorbed by the rice, which will by now be fluffy and nice. Add plenty of fresh pepper and a good drizzle of olive oil, a little squeeze of lemon and a last pinch of salt, and then pop your pan under the grill in order for it to crisp-up slightly before serving.

Once it is lightly golden brown, sprinkle with a few more fresh herbs and serve immediately! You Know you want to try it!

It's simple, it's beautiful, it's healthy, delicious and inexpensive to boot. Methinks, this is a dish to make again and again! And to enjoy each and every time!

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