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Sicilian Spring Vegetable Stew

Ingredients:

  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 16 to 20 baby artichokes, about 1½ ounces each
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion or spring onion, minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
  • Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1½ cups water
  • 2 pounds fresh fava beans, shelled (to yield about
  • 2 cups shelled, unpeeled beans)
  • 1 pound English peas, shelled
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil


Procedures:

In Sicily, this well-cooked braise of artichokes, fava beans, and peas is sometimes used as a pasta sauce. Consider making a double batch so you have enough to toss with spaghetti the following day.
  1. Fill a large bowl with cold water and add the juice of ½ lemon. Working with 1 artichoke at a time, peel back the tough outer leaves until they break at the base. Keep removing leaves until you reach the paler yellow-green inner leaves, which are more tender. Cut across the top of this artichoke ÒheartÓ to remove the sharp leaf tips. If the stem is still attached, trim it down to ½ inch, then pare the stem and base with a small knife, removing any dark green or brown parts. Cut each heart lengthwise into 6 wedges and place immediately in the lemon water to prevent browning. Repeat with the remaining artichokes.


  2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over moderately low heat. Add the onion and saut until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and hot pepper flakes and sauté for about 1 minute to release the garlic fragrance. Drain the artichokes and add them to the skillet. Season with salt and pepper and add 1 cup of the water. Bring to a simmer, cover, and adjust the heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook for 10 minutes, then add the fava beans, the peas, and the remaining ½ cup water. Re-cover and simmer until all the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Add a little more water if needed to keep the mixture from cooking dry.


  3. Stir in the basil and season with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat. Let rest for about 15 minutes before serving to allow the flavors to meld. Serve warm, not hot.

by Sur La Table & Andrews McMeel Publishing

 
 
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