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Low fat recipes

  RECIPE TITLE "Risotto-Stuffed Artichokes" Recipe from Shawn Merkel; Owosso, Michigan
excerpted from The Good Morning America Cut the Calories Cookbook copyright © 2000 by Sara Moulton and Jean Anderson. All rights reserved.

yields serves 4 time--difficultyeasy

This self-taught personal chef, who has three sons aged eleven, thirteen, and fifteen, prepares weekly meals for clients and specializes in imaginative low-fat dishes using vegetables and fruits in season whenever possible. "I created this recipe during artichoke season, which lasts such a short time that I fill artichokes with everything I can think of to take advantage of it," Shawn explains. "One of my clients is on a diet for heart disease and I wanted to create something low, low in fat for him and his family. Versatile risotto seemed a perfect match for the artichokes."

Not every rice makes good risotto. Indeed, you need short-grain rice, the Italian arborio, for example, if the risotto is to cook up creamy yet have grains that are slightly al dente. Fortunately, nearly every good supermarket now stocks arborio rice (sometimes it's simply called "risotto rice"). Look for it.

NOTE: For the toasted cheese-bread crumbs, mix 1/4 cup soft white bread crumbs with 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese, spread in a large baking pan, and bake uncovered at 350 degrees F until golden brown—8 to 10 minutes.

TIPS: The easiest way to remove the choke (thistly center) from an artichoke is to spread the leaves, then using a melon baller, to reach down inside and scoop out all the prickly parts. To tell if an artichoke is done, pierce the bottom with a sharp-pronged fork. If it goes in easily, the artichoke is tender. Another way: Pull on a leaf near the base. If it loosens, the artichoke is done.


4 large (8-ounce) artichokes, points of leaves snipped off and chokes removed (see Tip above)
1 (14.25-ounce) can reduced-sodium, nonfat chicken broth
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 medium-size clove garlic, finely minced
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup uncooked arborio rice (see headnote above)
1 cup moderately finely diced red bell pepper (about medium-size)
1 medium-size shallot, finely minced
2 tablespoons toasted pignoli (pine nuts)
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup toasted cheese-bread crumbs (see headnote above)


1. Pour water to a depth of 1/2 inch in a very large stainless steel or enameled metal kettle and bring to a boil over moderately high heat. Trim bottoms of artichokes so they will stand straight, then ease into kettle, one by one, placing right side up. As soon as water returns to a boil, adjust heat so it bubbles gently, cover, and cook artichokes until tender—about 30 minutes.

2. While artichokes cook, bring chicken broth, lemon juice and zest, and garlic to a simmer in a small saucepan over moderate heat. Reduce heat to low and keep broth mixture hot.

3. Heat olive oil in large heavy saucepan over moderately high heat until ripples appear on pan bottom—1-1/2 to 2 minutes. Add rice, bell pepper, and shallot and sauté, stirring now and then, until lightly golden—about 5 minutes.

4. Add 1/2 cup hot broth mixture, stirring often, until completely absorbed. Add remaining broth mixture 1/2 cup at a time, cooking and stirring after each addition until all liquid is absorbed; this will take about 20 minutes. Stir toasted pignoli and cheese into risotto.

5. Drain artichokes well by standing upside down on several thicknesses of paper toweling. Then spoon 1/2 cup hot risotto into center of each artichoke.

6. Arrange stuffed artichokes on large heated platter, sprinkle with toasted cheese-bread crumbs, and serve at once.

Per Serving:
448 calories
9 g fat (5 g saturated)
7 mg cholesterol
415 mg sodium

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