Friday, December 11, 2015

Giada's Artichoke Risotto with Feta & Herbs

Much as I vow to stop going by the book table at Costco, I cheated on my last visit and took a look. I have been seeing recipes from Giada De Laurentiis' latest cookbook Happy Cooking: Make Every Meal Count ... Without Stressing Out in various places and so I succumbed and bought myself an early Christmas present. Since we are featuring Giada this week at I Heart Cooking Clubs as part of our Monthly Featured Chef theme, the timing was perfect.

There were plenty of recipes that I tagged to make, including four risottos; Spiced Kabocha Squash Risotto, Chorizo Risotto, Dairy-Free Risotto with Mushrooms and Peas and Artichoke Risotto. I happened to be craving the comfort of risotto and since I had artichoke hearts and peas in the freezer and feta that needed to be used up in the fridge, this Artichoke Risotto solved the 'what to make first from the new cookbook' dilemma. You may be thinking that this seems more like a spring recipe than a December one, and you would be right, the other three risottos have a more winter-ish feel, but the heart wants what the heart wants and mine wanted artichokes and feta. We also get locally grown mint and chives year-round here so it works.

Giada says, "Using frozen artichoke hearts makes this quick and easy enough for a weeknight; fresh mint, chives and peas make it memorable."

Artichoke Risotto
Very Slightly Adapted from Happy Cooking by Giada De Laurentiis
(Makes 4 to 6 Servings)

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 (9-oz) package frozen artichoke hearts, cut into bite-size wedges
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 large or 2 small shallots, minced (I used 1/2 of a sweet Maui onion)
1 cup Arborio rice
1 tsp salt
1 cup dry white wine, room temperature
3 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth, warmed (I used 4 cups homemade garlic veggie broth)
1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (3oz)
1/4 cup finely chopped chives
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice (from 1/2 small lemon)
(I added the zest of the lemon to the garnish)

Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Add the artichoke hearts and reduce the heat to medium high. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes, or until the hearts are beginning to brown. Remove to a plate and set aside.

To the same pan, add the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, the butter and the shallots and cook for 1 minute, stirring regularly. Add the rice and salt and stir with a wooden spoon to coat all the kernels with oil. Continue to cook for 3 minutes, or until the rice is sizzling. Add the wine and cook, stirring, until it is almost completely absorbed. Now begin adding the chicken broth, one cup at a time, stirring frequently between additions. 

After the first cup is almost entirely absorbed, add the next cup. Continue in this way until the rice is cooked through and you have a creamy risotto, about 20 minutes in all. (The risotto should be slightly loose, not dry; it should run off your spoon. If it gets too dry, add a bit more broth.) Stir in the peas, feta, chives, mint and black pepper. Gently stir in the artichoke hearts and the lemon juice. Serve.

Notes/Results: This was a delicious risotto with a great contrast of flavor--the sweetness of the onion and peas, the salty bits of feta and the bright and tangy flavor of the artichoke hearts and the lemon. The feta melts a bit into the rice, adding creaminess but still has some good little chunks. Just really yummy and good--rich but lively enough that it doesn't feel heavy. I did end up using about 4 cups of broth--3 1/2 cups would not quite have been enough and my risotto cooked in about 25 minutes. Giada says 4 to 6 servings but I think it is closer to 4 unless you are serving really tiny servings as a starter. Easy, with some of my favorite ingredients and flavors, I will definitely make this one again.

With 40 Giada recipes posted on my blog over the past seven years, here are a few of my favorites: (Forgive some of the 'early blogging days' ugly photos.) ;-)

Vegetarian Chile Verde from Giada's Feel Good Food

Smoked Salmon and Apple Carpaccio from Giada At Home

Pizza Popcorn from Food Network

Rigatoni with Red Pepper, Almonds, and Bread Crumbs from Everyday Italian

Apple & Thyme Martini from Giada's Kitchen

And my 'go-to' recipe when I get a brown butter craving and need a pantry/fridge meal...
Brown Butter Sauce from Everyday Italian (and which stats say is one of my four most popular/viewed posts). ;-) 

You can see what Giada dishes my pals at IHCC made this week by following the picture links on the post (here).

I am also linking this post up with the Cook-Your-Books event (#29!) with Joyce at Kitchen Flavours

Do you have a favorite Giada recipe?


  1. I can't resist the book table at Costco either. I grabbed the latest Pioneer Woman cookbook, decidedly less heathy than Giada with all that cream 😃

    Nice array of Giada recipes here. I like the risotto and haven't tried her version yet, but plan to.

  2. Something must be in the air, because I've been craving risotto nonstop lately also!! Good thing I have some frozen artichokes in the fridge...this is going on the menu!

  3. Lately, I've been making risotto a lot for dinner. I find there is something relaxing standing at the stove stirring the rice. I usually sauté some mushrooms and onions, but your risotto looks amazing and I'm going to have to branch out.
    As for the cookbooks at BJ's? I can never resist.

  4. Hi Deb, great to see you cooking up a storm. I've been slowing down after my recent miscarriage.

  5. Joyce, I am so sorry to hear that. I am sorry for your loss and hope you are feeling better soon.

  6. ALL of these look/sound delicious. I wanna go make this risotto NOW!!!

  7. Americans don't use enough mint in their cooking, in my opinion. Mint and peas and artichoke hearts sounds like a winning combination to me :)

  8. Strangely enough, this is the second dish this month that I cooked variations of risotto. Artichoke hearts, peas and feta is a winning combination. A dish I'd look forward to make.

  9. I love the sound of this risotto - the weather has been quite balmy here and I'm craving lighter flavours like this.

  10. Your risotto looks delicious! Looking at your risotto and some of IHCC members' risotto, I'm so tempted to cook some too!

  11. ...and thanks for linking with CYB! So nice to have you at CYB! :)

  12. I love that you did a recap of your favorite Giada dishes (and I remember them all well). I keep forgetting to recap my faves and/or visit my archives.

    The cookbooks at Costco always catch my attention. I saw Jacques' latest last week and wanted it badly. Well his, and Ina's latest. Who am I kidding? I want them all and have no room for them.

    Love this risotto. I crave feta cheese something fierce on a regular basis. I just love the saltiness and texture it adds to dishes. This looks like a crave-worthy risotto, for sure!


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