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Patricia Wells' Artichoke and Basil Ragout - LOGO

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Artichoke and Basil Ragout

Patricia Wells at Home
in Provence: Recipes Inspired
by Her Farmhouse in France

(James Beard Foundation Award Winner)

Patricia Wells, 1996, Scribner

“I make this dish often in the early fall, with end-of-season artichokes
and the garden’s final burst of basil. I’ve used wine in place of stock to
connect with the acidity of the lemon juice and the natural lemony tang
of the artichoke, making for a very digestible dish. This is also delicious
tossed with fresh pasta: You’ll need about 8 ounces (250g)."

2 cups (50 cl) dry white wine, such as a white Rhône,
Riesling, Aligoté, or Chenin Blanc
1 cup (25 cl) loosely packed flat-leaf parsley
leaves, carefully destemmed
8 plump, fresh garlic cloves, peeled and halved
Sea salt to taste
2 firm, ripe tomatoes, cored, peeled, and chopped
1/2 cup (12.5 cl) extra-virgin olive oil
4 artichokes, 8 baby artichokes, or two 9-ounce
packages frozen artichoke hearts, thawed
4 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, carefully
destemmed and cut into julienne with
a scissors or sharp knife

1. In a 3-quart (3-l) saucepan, bring the wine to a boil over high heat. Boil vigorously until all the alcohol has burned off and there is no alcohol
aroma wafting from the saucepan, about 8 minutes.
2. With a large chef’s knife, finely chop the parsley, garlic and salt. Trans-
fer to a heavy-duty saucepan. Add the tomatoes, oil and wine. Tho-
roughly drain the artichoke slices and add to the saucepan. Cover and
bring just to a simmer over moderate heat. Turn the heat to low, cover,
and simmer very gently for 30 to 45 minutes for fresh artichokes, 10 to
15 minutes for thawed, frozen artichokes, until they are soft and offer
no resistance when pierced with a knife. The ragout should not be dry
but should be bathed in a fragrant, delicious sauce. Stir in the basil.
Taste for seasoning.
3. To serve as a first course or vegetable side dish, transfer to warmed shallow soup bowls, spooning the sauce over the artichokes. Pass
plenty of crusty bread for sopping up the soup. (To serve with
pasta, toss the artichokes with 8 ounces (250 g) of cooked fresh
linguine, using all the liquid as the sauce. The pasta does not
require cheese.)
Four to six servings

Wine suggestion:  Serve the same simple dry white wine as used
in cooking the artichokes.

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