Artichokes take center stage
Baby artichokes are delicious in many dishes from risotto and pasta to salads and soups
Baby artichokes are delicious in many dishes ranging from risotto and pasta to salads and soups. Paired with Italian farro or emmer, they are exceptionally stylish. (Photo by Susan Russo/TMS)
Apparently, so do farmer's markets. I've seen some of the most stylish looking artichokes around -- ranging from petite purple baby artichokes to hefty, celery-green Big Heart artichokes.
Despite their diminutive size, baby artichokes are fully mature artichokes with a full-bodied, earthy flavor. They simply don't grow as large as Globe or Big Heart artichokes because they're picked from the lower part of the artichoke plant. As a result, the characteristic fuzzy choke isn't all that fuzzy and can be eaten. Indeed, other than a few tough outer leaves, the entire artichoke is edible.
Baby artichokes are delicious in many dishes ranging from risotto and pasta to salads and soups. Paired with Italian farro or emmer, as in this farro with baby artichokes, mushrooms and peas, baby artichokes are exceptionally stylish.
Farro is a wonderfully chewy, nutty flavored whole grain that has been used for over 6,000 years. Although used extensively in Italy, where it has been enjoyed since ancient Roman times, farro has only recently gained popularity here in the U.S.
Farro isn't always easy to find in grocery stores. The best place to buy farro is at an Italian market or deli. Otherwise, try organic markets or online sources. Know that farro is expensive: a 15- to 20-ounce bag ranges from $6 to $10. Once you taste it, though, you'll understand why it's pricey.
Cooked farro is a delicious cross between bulgur and wheat berries -- firm, chewy, nutty and satisfying. If you can't find farro, then barley or spelt make good substitutes.
By the way, if any In Style editors are reading this, don't worry, I'll be donning scarlet shortly, as in rhubarb scarlet.
Farro with baby artichokes, mushrooms and peas
1/2 cup uncooked farro
8 baby artichokes, or 2 regular sized ones
The juice of 1 small lemon
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup sliced white button or cremini mushrooms
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup cannelini beans, drained