Artichoke Soup

Zuppa di Carciofi

During a week-long stay in Sardinia, we had the privilege of being chaperoned by the noted Italian food journalist Gilberto Arru. He took us to some of his favorite restaurants, trattorias where the food is as good as home cooking. One was Trattoria Da Riccardo in Magomadas where we shared an extraordinary artichoke soup. The secret, we were told, was not some unusual ingredient but simply using artichokes at their peak.

Preparation time: 30 minutes
Total time from start to finish: 50 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 lemon
  • 4 medium artichokes
  • ½ medium yellow onion
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small clove garlic
  • 8 ounces ripe tomatoes
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups water

Method

  1. Squeeze the lemon juice into a medium bowl and fill the bowl halfway with cold water. Trim the artichokes as described. Cut them into wedges about ¼ inch thick and put them in the bowl of lemon water to prevent them from discoloring.
  2. Peel and finely chop the onion. Put it with the olive oil in a soup pot over medium-high heat. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until the onion turns a dark golden color, about 5 minutes.
  3. While the onion is sautéing, finely chop the garlic. Peel and chop the tomatoes.
  4. When the onion is done, add the garlic and sauté for about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
  5. Drain the artichokes, add them to the pot, and season with salt and pepper. Add the water, cover the pot, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat so the soup simmers and cook until the artichokes are quite tender, 20 to 25 minutes.
  6. Using a slotted spoon, take out about one-third of the artichokes and purée them with a food mill or in a food processor. Stir the puréed artichokes back into the soup. Serve hot with crusty bread.

Note

You can make the soup up to 2 hours ahead of time without refrigerating it. The artichokes will not taste the same if kept longer.

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