In Italy, fresh artichokes, both green and purple, start to appear in the markets in March. There they are arranged in beautiful piles and look like giant bouquets of flowers. In the United States, artichokes are likely to start appearing in farmers’ markets in April, which means they are the perfect partner for another early spring crop, fava beans. Here they are combined in a simple dish that gets its extra depth of flavor from finely diced pancetta.
Sautéed Artichokes and Fava Beans
Juice of 2 lemons
4 large artichokes
2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
4 oz. (125 g) pancetta, cut into 1/4-inch (6-mm) dice
2 garlic cloves, very thinly sliced
1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) dry white wine
Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup (5 oz./155 g) shelled, blanched and peeled fava beans
2 Tbs. finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Fill a bowl with cold water and add the lemon juice. Cut the stems off the artichokes, trim the end and tough skin around the stem and place in the lemon water. Cut off one-third of the tops from the artichokes and remove the tough outer leaves. Cut the artichokes in half lengthwise and scoop out the fuzzy chokes with a spoon. Cut them in half again and immerse the quarters in the lemon water.
In a heavy sauté pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the pancetta and sauté until lightly crisped, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic, reduce the heat to medium-low and sauté until the garlic is softened, about 5 minutes. Drain the artichokes, reserving 1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) of the reserved lemon water. Add the artichokes to the pan along with the reserved water, the wine, 1/2 tsp. salt and a little pepper. Raise the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Return the heat to medium-low, cover and cook until the artichokes are almost tender but still a little firm, 15 to 20 minutes.
Stir in the fava beans. Cover and cook until the fava beans are tender, about 10 minutes. Uncover, raise the heat to medium and cook until most of the liquid has been absorbed, about 5 minutes longer. Remove from the heat and stir in the parsley. Transfer to a serving bowl, pour the pan juices over the top and serve. Serves 4.
Adapted from Rustic Italian, by Domenica Marchetti