It is the time of year for globe artichokes; the little ones are no bigger than an acorn and are so young that they need no trimming. If you can find only bigger ones, trim the tough outer leaves, cut in half and spoon out the choke, or buy a jar of artichoke hearts. Calasparra rice comes from Spain. Used in paella, it is short and plump, like arborio in risotto. This dish, though, is quicker and easier than risotto, as you don't need to feed slowly; all the liquid goes in at once.
50g/2oz unsalted butter
2 yellow onions, peeled and finely chopped
1 small bunch of marjoram or thyme, leaves only, chopped
500g/17oz Calasparra rice
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
30 little globe artichokes
1.5l/21/2 pints chicken stock (or water if you prefer)
100g/31/2oz Parmesan, grated
40g/11/2oz unsalted butter
3tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
Salt and pepper
Place 50g of butter in a heavy-based frying pan and place over a gentle heat. When the butter has melted, put in the onion and marjoram and cook until the onion is soft and translucent – about 10 minutes.
Add the uncooked rice and turn up the heat slightly. Toss the rice so it becomes coated with the onions and butter. Add the garlic and a pinch of salt and some freshly ground black pepper. Then add the artichokes and pour over the stock. Bring the liquid to a boil, then turn down and simmer until the rice and artichokes are cooked and most of the stock is absorbed – it should be the consistency of a thick soup. Add the Parmesan and season with a little more salt and lots of pepper. Add the rest of the butter and chopped parsley, and stir. Serve in warm soup bowls with plenty of good crusty, peasant-style bread.Reuse content