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Artichoke Stew With Potatoes And February Cuisine

Artichoke Stew With Potatoes

In February, the light starts to change.
The days are getting longer, but it is better not to be hasty in expectations.
The soul of February is wintry and and can reserve surprises.

This month’s cooking is still typical of the season: long cooking, satisfying baked pasta, stews and roasts, perhaps an artichoke stew like this one. And a slice of a homemade cake to eat at the end of a meal or to accompany a cup of tea.

Artichoke Stew With Potatoes

The February kitchen: pots and tools.

Among the most used pans are baking trays for baking; pots for soups and stews; frying pans and casseroles for roasts, stews and spezzatini (a kind of stew). The old belly pot of earthenware, I use for soups, is well stored to preserve it from breaking, but always handy.

With all those pans on the stove there is not a single wooden spoon in place.
And their place is a ceramic jar with a nice handle. Well placed near the heats, it also contains several kitchen tongs and spatulas.

In the winter months, and February is no exception, I use many bowls.
Some for dough that needs to rise, others for dried legumes I leave to soak overnight for the next day.

The February kitchen is a single oven glove that is almost always unavailable, dish towels drying on some radiator and an army of cotton potholders.
Even if there are always two hands.

February table.

Soups, minestre and vegetable creams. Warm and nutritious.
While cleaning the vegetables, I realize a lonely thought that imagines crowded beaches that I don’t even frequent but, all the same, it is not a good excuse to indulge. Remise en forme is something we above all have to do for ourselves and to try to stay in equilibrium between one carnival fritter and one little food temptation.

And winter salads that require little time, few ingredients and, when are well made, give great satisfaction. I often enrich winter salads with oranges which work well with raw fennel, cabbage or apples.

It’s pleasant to be invited to the table by the smell of baked pasta, to accept the invitation of a robust ragù or to set off on a “long cooking trip”, destination stew. I often look through the oven porthole to spy on the roast, resisting to the constantly temptation to open it.

A cup of tea planning new trips.

The February table is particularly welcoming towards the family of hot drinks, especially teas and infusions to accompany a couple of biscuits or a slice of apple pie. If I organize a non-tea-of-the-five, I also prepare a savory option such as Italian tramezzini with celery cream.

Between a cup of tea and a biscuit, old travel photos and a tablet to plan the first city tours and trips find a place on the February table. By the way, I was a tourist in my city and in Romagna, where I was born and grew up, even before the restrictions imposed by Covid.

Even the ‘long’ trips, since we have Emma, an abandoned and mistreated dog who can’t stay without us, are dedicated to discovering Italy in search of small villages, relaxed atmospheres, views and genuine flavors.

Artichoke Stew With Potatoes

The stew.

The word stew originates from a specific type of cooking.
It refers to the time when people used to put pots of food on the stove, hence the Italian verb stufare, which then became a noun, stufato.

Stew usually refers to a dish of meat simmered, covered, with flavors that can be herbs, vegetables or passata. The cooking time is long and the final taste is made of a complex layering of ingredients and lone notes that stand out from the rest.

Italian stufati, spezzatini and brasati are different but similar, united by a long cooking time. At home, especially the first two, were part of our usual diet and everyday table. Braised meat, with that big piece of expensive meat, no, it was a Sunday or holiday dish.

I have always loved nonna Sara’s stews and casseroles.
Hot, aromatic and always in red.
I used to eat the solid part quickly, trying to pick up as little sauce as possible. The passata that cooks for hours with meat and vegetables takes on a fiery red color and an incredible flavor. Those were the most memorable scarpette of my life.

On Italy Magazine, I found an article I loved about the Italian ritual of “fare la scarpetta”.

Artichoke Stew With Potatoes

Artichoke Stew With Potatoes.

You might have expected a meat dish.
But I wanted a recipe that, while offering the heat of a stew, and with some of the flavors that were never missing from home recipes such as potatoes and tomato sauce, had a shorter cooking and was therefore suitable for everyday cooking.

The basis of the stew is just tomato sauce seasoned with salt and oil. Taste the passata you will use, if it is a bit sour correct it with a spoonful of sugar.

At the market I bought some Tuscan artichokes, without furry stuff, and after soaking them in water and lemon, I started cooking the stew from the ingredients that needed more time in the pan: potatoes and artichoke stems.

After about ten minutes from the start of cooking, I drain the artichokes from the water and lemon, put them in the pan and continue cooking with the lid on. With the artichokes cut into wedges, the stew will be ready after about twenty minutes.

Artichoke stew is a good main dish that you can serve as an one dish adding a side dish or steamed white rice. Don’t forget the bread.

Buona cucina, Monica

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Artichoke Stew With Potatoes


Artichoke Stew With Potatoes Recipe

serves 4

3 Tuscan artichokes
potatoes, 400g
black olives, 50g
vegetable stock, 400ml
passata di pomodoro, about 200g
tomato paste, 10g
curry powder, 2g
olive oil, butter salt to taste
fresh juice of one lemon


In a cup, mix the passata with the concentrate and curry powder.

Drain the olives from their liquid, wash and cut them in half. Set aside.

With a serrated knife (or a paring knife), cut off the stem where it meets the base of the artichoke, and set it aside.

Start by pulling off the artichoke’s leaves until you get down to the fine, thin leaves but without getting to the yellow leaves, stop first.

Then cut each artichoke in half, then into 4 and cut one or two wedges from each part. Depending on the type of artichoke you use, you could find a furry stuff in the center of the heart. If it happens, remove the choke itself using the knife.

Put the artichoke wedges in a bowl with cold water and lemon juice and set aside.

Take the stalks, remove the skin with a knife or peeler, cut them into 2-3cm tubes and dip them in water with lemon.

Peel the potatoes and cut into chunks and set aside.

In a saucepan pour half of the passata, some butter flakes, a little oil and salt, mix and add the potatoes and the artichoke stems.

Pour over 1/3 of the broth.

The cooking.

Simmer for about ten minutes, checking occasionally.

After this time, add the artichokes (after draining them from the water and lemon), what remains of the passata and a little stock, cover with a lid and continue cooking for about 15-20 minutes, checking from time to time and adding stock if necessary.

At the end of the cooking, if the sauce is not fluid enough, add stock.
On the contrary, if it is too runny, reduce the sauce but first remove the artichoke segments and then continue cooking, without a lid, until the consistency of the sauce is right for you.

Place the artichokes again in the pan, season with salt and oil and serve piping hot.

Tuscan Artichokes

Italian Recipes

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