Artichokes, Fresh Favas, and Potatoes
Ciaudedda

serves: 6 servings

The same trio of seasonal vegetables that inspire minestra ciauda lend their distinctive flavors and textures to this very different, skillet-cooked vegetable dish. Crisp and soft at the same time, it is a deluxe version of home fries, with the artichokes and favas adding color and excitement to the familiar flavor of pan-fried potatoes. It's a great dinner vegetable dish, as well as a terrific accompaniment to eggs at a springtime breakfast or brunch. (If you are watching your carbs, omit the potatoes and increase the amounts of other vegetables by half.)

ingredients
1½ pounds russet potatoes
3 pounds fresh fava-bean pods, shelled
6 medium artichokes
1 lemon, for acidulated water
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 ounces pancetta, cut in 1/2-inch pieces
2 small onions, thinly sliced
½ teaspoon peperoncino, or to taste
2 teaspoons kosher salt

directions


Put the potatoes in a pot with water to cover them by about 2 inches, and bring to a boil. Cook just until the potatoes are easily pierced with a fork or sharp knife blade (don't let them get mushy), then drain and let them cool. Peel off the skin, and cut the potatoes crosswise into round slices, about 1/2 inch thick.

To prepare the favas: Bring 4 quarts of water to boil in another saucepan, drop in the shelled favas, and blanch about 2 minutes, until they turn bright green. Drain the beans, and drop them right away into a large bowl of ice water. When chilled, drain the favas again; peel off (and discard) the inner skins. You should have about 2 cups peeled favas.

To prepare the artichokes: Fill a large bowl with a couple of quarts of cold water, and squeeze in the juice of the lemon, dropping in the cut lemon halves, too. Snap off the thick outside artichoke leaves; cut off the top third of the remaining leaf tips, and trim the stem tip. Peel the globe of the artichoke, removing the stubs of the plucked leaves and the skin covering the stem, to expose the lighter colored tender flesh. Slice the artichoke in half lengthwise, and scrape out the choke (if present) with a paring knife or the edge of a teaspoon. Slice the artichoke halves into 1-inch thick wedges, and drop them into a bowl of acidulated water. Pour 4 tablespoons of the olive oil into the big skillet, set it over medium heat, and scatter in the pancetta pieces.

Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, as they render fat, then stir in the onion slices, sprinkle in the peperoncino, and cook another 4 minutes or so, until the onions are sizzling and wilting. Drain the artichoke wedges and spread them in the pan; stir and toss gently to coat them with oil. Cover the skillet, and cook for about 15 minutes, until the artichokes are tender, stirring now and then.

Spread the sliced potato rounds in the pan, scatter the favas on top, and turn them over with a stiff spatula, mixing them with the hot vegetables. Cover and cook for 10 minutes or so, stirring and turning the vegetables over gently so the potatoes don't break apart too much. If they're sticking to the bottom of the skillet, loosen with a few tablespoons of water, scrape them up, and turn them over. If there's liquid in the pan, remove the cover and cook it away over slightly higher heat. When the potatoes start to brown, sprinkle on the salt, and drizzle the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil all over. Cook, uncovered, for another 5 to 10 minutes, occasionally lifting and tumbling the vegetables over with the spatula. As you do, scrape up the crusty glaze that forms on the skillet bottom, and turn it with the vegetables, to incorporate the crustiness throughout.

When everything is golden and lightly crusted, turn off the heat. Serve the ciaudedda family-style while still hot, right from the skillet.