serves: 6 servings
This dish accents the meatiness of the artichoke. Braised slowly with the tomatoes, it develops a harmonious flavor, sweet with a refreshing licorice finish. Since this recipe calls for a lot of artichokes, I make it when they are plentiful. Serve with a piece of grilled meat or fish or make some extra to spread on bread as an appetizer. Use, too, as a dressing for pasta or to make a risotto. These braised artichokes can be frozen, so make a big batch to pull out when unexpected guests come by.
1 lemon, for acidulated water
3 pounds small artichokes
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
8 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon peperoncino
4 cups San Marzano tomatoes, crushed by hand
1 tablespoon fresh mint leaves
2 tablespoons Italian parsley, freshly chopped
Trim the artichokes and cut them into wedges, about 2-inches wide; keep them in acidulated water.
Pour the olive oil into the skillet, drop in the garlic cloves and set over medium-high heat. Cook 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
When the garlic is just starting to color, lift the artichokes from the acidulated water and drop them into the skillet. Cover the pan immediately and let the artichokes steam in the moisture for a minute or two.
Lower the heat a bit, stir the artichokes and season them with 1/4 teaspoon salt and the peperoncino. Cover the skillet again and cook the artichokes for about 5 minutes, then pour in the crushed tomatoes, stir well, cover once more and raise the heat to bring the liquid to a boil. Season with another 1/4 teaspoon salt; scatter in the mint leaves and 1 tablespoon of the chopped parsley.
Lower the heat to keep the tomatoes bubbling gently, cover the skillet and let the artichokes cook, stirring occasionally, until thoroughly softened-their thickest leaves should be flat and floppy, 45 minutes or more. Remove the cover and cook rapidly, reducing the sauce to half the original volume, so it thickly coats the artichokes.
Just before serving-from the skillet or a warm platter if you prefer-drizzle over a spoon or two of olive oil and sprinkle with the remaining chopped parsley.