The love Italians have for the artichoke is evident at the table. It is also evident as you visit markets in Italy, when you search through the picked and canned vegetables in the Italian section of specialty stores in America, and when you consider the endless number of recipes dedicated to this thistle.
- 2 pounds baby artichokes (about 16)
- 8 garlic cloves, crushed and peeled
- Zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepperoncino flakes
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 1 ½ cups dry white wine
- 1 tablespoon dry bread crumbs
To clean baby artichokes and prevent them from oxidizing, fill a large bowl with approximately two quarts of cold water, and add the juice of two lemons, plus the squeezed-out lemon halves.
Peel and trim the stem of the first artichoke. Pull off any tough outer leaves and discard. Using a paring knife, trim away any tough parts around the base and the stem of the artichoke. With a serrated knife, cut off the top third of the artichoke and discard.
Combine the artichokes, garlic, lemon zest and juice, mint, parsley, salt, and pepperoncino in a saucepan of the size in which the artichokes will snugly fit in one layer. Nestle the artichokes in the pan with the ingredients, drizzle with the olive oil, and dot with the butter. Pour 3 cups water and the wine into the saucepan. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook until the artichokes are tender all the way through, about 40 minutes.
Uncover the pan, sprinkle with the bread crumbs, and simmer until the bread crumbs dissolve and thicken the sauce, just a minute or two.