Photos and Recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 cup Italian parsley
Salt to taste
Extra Virgin Olive oil
500 g arborio rice
500 ml vegetable stock
5 yellow baby zucchini (as small as a finger) with flower still attached
Calendula petals to decorate
Cook the artichokes one day earlier. In a bowl filled with water and lemon juice wash the artichokes and cut out a few of the hardest leaves (petals). Finely chop the garlic cloves with the parsley and a little salt and then use to stuff the artichokes. Place in a small saucepan, drizzle with olive oil and cover halfway through with water. Simmer until the outer leaves easily detach from the heart, adding water from time to time if necessary. The water will make a lovely broth.
The day after scrape all the flesh from the hardest outer leaves and place in a small saucepan with the artichoke hearts and their water (discard the hard bits). Mush flesh and hearts with a wooden spoon, and gently reheat. Keep warm and set aside.
Finely chop the shallot andsauté with 2 tbsp of olive oil. Add the rice and when this is lightly 'toasted', add the artichokes and their water. Stir and then continue cooking, adding some hot vegetable stock little by little, and stirring often. If the risotto is too dry you may need to add a little more stock or boiling water.
Clean the yellow zucchini, do no detach the flowers, just remove the sepals. When the risotto is almost cooked add the zucchini, gently stir in to cover them completely with the risotto, turn the element off, cover the pot with a lid and let it stand for 5 minutes. The zucchini are very small and should cook with the heat of the risotto.
To assemble, divide the risotto between 6 plates, with one baby zucchini for each plate, sprinkle with calendula flowers, and enjoy.