Artichoke Risotto with Lemon-Herb Pesto

October 20, 2009.   2 Comments.   Categories Chef Viviane Banquet Farre, Contributing Chefs, Fabulous Side Dishes, Fall, Seasonal Vegetables, Vegetarian.  


Artichoke Risotto with Lemon-Herb Pesto
Recipe, photo and video reprinted with permission
by Viviane Banquet Farre

Vegetarians and artichoke lovers will love every bite of this delicious and creamy creation by Viviane Banquet Farre of  Once again, she manages to combine many of my favorite ingredients in this recipe. 

Just thinking about this recipe immediately transported me to some of my favorite childhood food memories.  Artichoke soup at Duarte’s in Pescadero . . .  dipping artichoke leaves in butter . . . grilled baby artichokes on the beach…. mmmm. Growing up in California, I was lucky to have access to fresh artichokes straight from the fields.  I think I could eat them every day.  I’m thrilled to add this risotto to my artichoke recipe arsenal. 

Enjoy this video of Viviane as she walks you through this recipe, step-by-step.  And please, visit her website often to see what she’s making next . . .

Artichoke Risotto with Lemon-Herb Pesto – The Recipe:

serves 4

For the Pesto
1 small bunch fresh basil (about 2oz) – leaves removed from stems
6 springs fresh Italian parsley – stems removed
1 large garlic clove – skinned and left whole
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest (use microplane grater)
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

For the Risotto
1 lemon – juiced
3 large artichokes
3 1/2 cups spring water
3 cups vegetable broth in cartons or homemade vegetable stock
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 medium red onion – skinned, quartered and finely sliced
2 large garlic cloves – skinned and finely chopped
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup Carnaroli, Vialone or Arborio rice
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon cold, unsalted butter
1/3 cup freshly grated Reggiano Parmesan

extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
chive tips as garnish

Step 1:
For the pesto – place the basil leaves, Italian parsley, garlic, lemon
zest, olive oil and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Process at
high speed until it forms a paste, scraping down the sides of the bowl
with a rubber spatula, once or twice. Transfer to a bowl, cover and
refrigerate until ready to use.

Step 2: For
the artichokes – fill a medium bowl with cold water and add the lemon
juice. Trim the artichokes by bending back the outer leaves until they
snap off close to the base. Repeat until all the green leaves are gone,
leaving the tender yellow-green inner leaves attached to the heart. Cut
2″ of the tops so that only the yellow part of the leaves are left. Cut
the stalk at the base of the artichoke. Using a vegetable hand-peeler,
peel any green part around the heart. Keep dipping the artichokes in
the lemon-water bath as you work to prevent them from browning. Quarter
the artichokes, remove the chokes and then cut in 1/4″ slices. Place in
the lemon-water bath. Peel the stalks with the vegetable hand-peeler to
remove all green parts. Cut in half lengthwise, then cut in 1/4″ slices
and place the in the lemon-water bath. Set aside until ready to use.

Step 3:
For the broth – place the spring water and vegetable broth in a medium
saucepan and bring to a boil. Once boiling, turn off the heat and keep
on the stove near the risotto pan.

Step 4:
For the risotto – heat a wide heavy-bottomed sauté pan over high heat.
Add the olive oil and red onion, stir well and sauté for 3 minutes
until wilted. Drain the artichoke slices, shake any excess water and
add them to the pan. Sauté for 3 to 4 minutes until the artichokes are
golden, stirring only occasionally. Add the garlic and white wine and
continue sautéing until the wine has reduced to a syrupy sauce, about 2
to 3 minutes. Add the rice, salt and pepper and sauté for 1 minute
until the rice becomes translucent at the edges, stirring constantly.
Cook’s note: If you are making
this recipe ahead of time, take the pan off the heat at this time until
ready to continue the risotto. When you are ready to proceed, reheat
the risotto at medium heat and proceed as below.

Step 5:
Reduce heat to medium to medium-high. Add a scoop of the broth to the
rice using a ladle and simmer, stirring constantly until all the liquid
has been absorbed. You may have to adjust the heat from time to time so
that the risotto is always at a good simmer, but doesn’t stick to the
pot. Add another ladle of broth and continue stirring, repeating the
process until the rice is creamy but still al dente. This will take
about 20 minutes.
Cook’s note: You can use 5 to 6
cups of liquid depending on the rice you use, and whether you like a
drier risotto. The more liquid you use, the wetter your risotto will be.

Step 6:
Add the butter and parmesan and stir continuously to make the
consistency of the risotto softer and creamier. As soon as the butter
is melted, turn off the heat and stir in the pesto.

Step 7: Spoon the risotto into pasta bowls. Drizzle with a little olive oil. Garnish with chive tips and serve immediately.


  1. I think using chicken broth would make it taste wonderful too!

  2. This risotto looks yummy – and for the omnivores among us, I’m wondering if anyone has made it with chicken broth?

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