Dana Slatkin

Artichoke Quinoa Risotto

The other night I had the pleasure of experiencing Maude Restaurant, Curtis Stone’s sophisticated newcomer on South Beverly Drive. Tiny, lovingly decorated and filled with nostalgia (the name comes from Chef Stone’s Australian grannie), Maude is the freshest thing to happen to the Westside dining scene in years.

Hidden behind a quirky storefront next to a city parking structure, Stone’s dream project features a nine-course tasting menu centered around a different ingredient each month. The star of our meal? California’s own leading lady, the artichoke.

Our dinner was a parade of spring’s finest, flawlessly prepared by Stone’s dedicated crew. Each course was presented by proud servers in leisurely succession on dainty vintage china: a richly-flavored consommé, a delicate Barigoule, an oozy artichoke ricotta-filled ravioli, and a crazy-making cheese course served with smoked artichoke bread. By the time the Roasted Artichoke Ice Cream arrived, I had gained patent respect for both the thorny thistle and for Curtis Stone.

With fresh inspiration, I couldn’t wait to get home and start cooking. I was in need of a new recipe for my spring gatherings, and artichoke seemed like a good place to start. Why not pair it with quinoa, the perfect non-grain for Passover (you all know it’s actually a seed) and delicate brunch offering for Easter?

Photo credit: Pat Illing

As long as you’re prepared for a fair amount of prep (artichokes will do that to you), the dish won’t disappoint. It cooks like a traditional risotto — the quinoa gets toasted and infused with wine and an intense artichoke stock — but it won’t go gummy, even after reheating.

To trim the artichokes, I wear cooking gloves to avoid the thorny tips of the leaves. Using a very sharp chef’s knife (this one makes the work easy), cut off the stem so you have a flat surface. Then cut the leaves from the top to bottom and place them into a bowl of lemon water (this will prevent browning). When you get down to the core, scoop out the fuzzy choke with a spoon and dice the heart into cubes. The leaves and stems go into the stockpot for a quick simmer, then you’re ready to start on the risotto.

Of course, if you had a team like Chef Stone, your artichoke masterpiece would be on the table in no time. But on a lazy weekend afternoon, you can recruit whoever’s willing to help and cook a batch for the week. You’ll have a few satisfying weeknight dinners locked and loaded. And a feast at Maude to look forward to.

Just about the only thing better than artichokes is more artichokes! Here are more of my favorites…

Farmgirl Artichoke Fries

Seared Salmon with Artichokes and Saffron Broth from my Summertime Anytime Cookbook

Puerto Vallarta Pesto (Artichokes, Walnuts and Black Olives…yum!)

 

Are you a fan of Curtis Stone, too? You’ll love his newest book, What’s For Dinner? Delicious Recipes For A Busy Life

Stop by the Farmgirl Shop any time to see what’s in store for spring!

Do you have a favorite spring recipe? Enter it in my Spring Cooking Contest and you could win a beautiful embroidered linen Farmgirl apron (valued at $68) from the Farmgirl Shop!

Waitlist spots are still available for my upcoming classes. E-mail me here. dana@danaslatkin.com

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Comments

  1. Lizthechef says:

    This looks time-consuming but well worth the effort. I wonder if I could sub frozen artichoke hearts? But how would I make that yummy broth…

  2. Dana Slatkin says:

    I thought about that, too, but without the artichoke stock, you won’t get that intense artichoke-y flavor. Most artichoke risotto recipes are just a risotto with some artichokes thrown in. Maybe try using the frozen hearts and a good vegetable stock, and serve the risotto topped with fried artichoke hearts. Let me know how it comes out.

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