How to Prepare an Artichoke

A variety of edible thistle, the Artichoke is one of the real joys of summer in both flavour and fragrance. Though cultivated in Britain – particularly in the South – the heartland of the Globe Artichoke is the Mediterranean, where it grows wild and in prodigious quantity. Indeed, the artichoke is best known for its use in Italian cuisine. But before we get onto all of the clever things that can be done with artichoke hearts, let me show you how to prepare the vegetable and enjoy its meaty leaves.

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Tomato and Basil Risotto

Risotto is a dish unbound by season. As with minestrone (see me recipes for autumn and spring), the best seasonal produce can be used to great effect in this famous Italian rice dish. There is no ingredient on earth that can’t be put to bewilderingly good use in risotto, a fact that makes it very special and probably unique. Indeed, to celebrate the beginning of the British tomato season, this recipe for Tomato and Basil Risotto makes full use of the fruit’s flavour, texture and colour. Delicious is an understatement.

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Springtime Minestrone

Minestrone is perhaps the greatest way of bringing together the best of seasonal produce in one dish. My last recipe for this ‘big soup’, Autumnal Minestrone, unified leeks, beans and carrots in a delicious broth, which proved to be pleasantly warming and hearty. This springtime rendition lightens things up a little with fennel, peas and spring onions, evoking the time of year in both colour and flavour.

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red-onion-and-goats-cheese-calzone

Calzoni are essentially turnover pizzas frequently produced because of their portability. Like pasties, they make a perfect lunch time feast as they are easy to enjoy on the go without risk of unsolicited spillage. However, though the inherent cleanliness of calzoni is beyond question, it is not their most arresting feature. As you’re likely aware, surprises often produce some of the most exciting and pleasant occurrences in one’s life. Breaking into the soft, golden shell of a calzone is one such event and witnessing the ingredients ooze from their man-made cocoon is, in all instances, more gripping that merely having a flat, though admittedly delicious, pizza thrust under your pecker.

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