Although artichoke a faff to prepare and we don’t have it often, I think this recipe really does it justice. If you can’t find fresh artichokes, you could use a mix of good mushrooms instead, or green asparagus if it's in season.
Orzotto is a risotto made with pearl barley (orzo perlato) instead of rice. I love it and much prefer it to risotto.
It has a far more satisfying texture and an earthy, comfort foody vibe to it.
It is far more nutritious than rice, providing fibre, protein, iron, selenium and complex b-vitamins.
It doesn’t go claggy and therefore still tastes nice the next day (I hate warmed up risotto).
Best of all, it doesn’t need lots of stirring and careful pouring-in of the stock bit by bit. Just bang it all in the pot and leave to simmer!
If I’m making a portion for my little boy, I use plain water instead of stock, let the barley cook for a bit longer, and add a spoonful of cream cheese at the end.
Pots/pans to be washed up afterwards: 2
Prep time: 20 mins
Cooking time: 45 mins
250 g pearl barley, washed
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 stick of celery, finely chopped
5-8 fresh artichokes (prep method below)
100 ml white cooking wine
500 ml vegetable or chicken stock
two lemons, halved and juiced
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
flat-leaf parsley, chopped
150 g grated parmesan
In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, fry the onion and celery over a low heat. Let it go soft and sticky, but not brown.
Increase the heat and add the barley, stirring well for a minute so all the grains are coated in oil but don’t stick to the pot.
Pour in the wine and let it evaporate.
Add the stock, and let it simmer away for about 40-50 minutes, depending on how al dente you like your barley. Stir occasionally and add more stock if it starts to stick.
While the orzotto is cooking, prep the artichokes. First, cut away the tops and stems (leave about a centimetre of stem). Cut away all the tough outer leaves, as you really just want the hearts (you’ll give your gut a serious workout otherwise…). Slice into quarters and remove the furry bits in the middle. Slice thinly. Immediately put the slices in a bowl of water with the juice of one lemon to stop them from going black. Add the lemon halves too.
To finish the orzotto: take off the heat and stir in the parmesan.
To finish the artichokes: take off the heat and stir in the remaining lemon juice.
Stir the artichokes into the orzotto, add the parsley and season with black pepper and sea salt. More parmesan can be added at the table.
Have you ever tried fresh artichokes? What's your favourite way of eating them?