I love artichokes in every form, and typically the simpler the better, but I couldn’t resist this more grown-up artichoke dish, braised in tomatoes and stuffed with a mint pesto, although any pesto would be fine. These take a bit of work, but the result is absolute perfection. It’s great when you have a bit of time and you can relax in the kitchen with some music and create some artichoke magic. They’re fun for date night or a dinner party. and perfect for a Sunday when you’re not in a rush. I discovered this recipe in Bon Appetit, and other than reducing the anchovies, I used their version – why screw with perfection? Produce provided by Melissa’s Produce
Artichokes with Mint Pesto
- One 28-ounce can whole peeled San Marzano plum tomatoes
- 1-1/2 cups dry white wine (or chicken stock if you’re doing Whole30)
- 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 cup olive oil, divided
- 6 salt-packed anchovy filets, rinsed and dried
- 8 garlic cloves
- 1 cup mint leaves, lightly packed
- 6 medium artichokes
- 2 lemons, halved
Place the tomatoes in a large Dutch oven and crush them with your hands. Then add the wine (chicken stock if you are doing Whole30), red pepper flakes, salt, 1/2 cup olive oil and 2 cups water. Set aside.
In a food processor, make a pesto by pulsing the anchovies and garlic until finely chopped. Then add the mint and pulse again. While the motor is on, slowly pour in the remaining 1/2 cup of olive oil until you form a coarse paste. Set aside.
Remove several layers of the dark green outer leaves from the artichokes until you get to the light green, tender leaves. Using a serrated knife, cut 1 inch from the top of the artichoke and trim stem ends. To prevent browning, rub the cut ends with lemon. Use a pairing knife to remove tough outer green layer from the base and stem to reveal pale green underneath and rub lemon all over. Keeping the stem on, cut the artichoke in half through stem and rub with lemon. Use a spoon to cut out the choke, then pull out the spiky inner leaves. This takes a little time, so be patient with yourself – the work is worth the wait. Rub insides with lemon. Rub the pesto all over the artichokes, then place them in a single layer inside the Dutch oven, submerging in the tomato mixture.
Over medium-low heat, bring to a simmer and cook the artichokes, turning occasionally, until the hearts are tender. This takes about 55-65 minutes. Remove the artichokes from the Dutch oven and place on a platter and cover to keep warm.
Turn the heat up to medium and bring the tomato sauce to a boil. Continue to cook for about 10-15 minutes, or until sauce slightly thickens. If needed, add more salt and stir to combine. Then spoon the sauce over the artichokes and serve.