Artichoke, broad bean & herb casserole

Artichoke, broad bean & herb casserole

By
From
Sicily
Serves
4 as a main course or 6 as a starter

This is a lovely traditional dish made with the small fresh artichokes of spring, the first broad (fava) beans and peas of the year and wild herbs from the fields. Since we just can’t get the same artichokes here I use tinned or jarred artichokes and rinse them before use. If you are thinking of cheating, do use frozen peas and broad beans. The beans are frozen when young and tender and don’t need their shells removed. Do add the full handful of herbs – the flavours are wonderful and it changes the dish according to what you have. Although we have included this in the Antipasti section, it also makes a good vegetarian or vegan lunch (if you don’t use chicken stock and use olive oil in place of the butter). It’s good with eggs, soft-boiled, fried or poached, and, to bump up your five-a-day, stir in a bag of baby spinach leaves at the end and really feel virtuous.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
1 onion, cut in half from root to tip and thinly sliced into half-moons
25g salted or unsalted butter
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
salt
freshly ground black pepper
150g artichokes from a jar in oil, drained
200g young fresh or frozen broad beans
200g fresh or frozen peas
500ml chicken or vegetable stock or hot water
large handful finely chopped green herbs, such as wild fennel, parsley, celery leaves, dill, mint
2 teaspoons red or white wine vinegar
100g baby spinach, (optional)

Method

  1. Fry the onion in the butter and half of the oil with the seasoning over a medium heat until soft. Add the rest of the ingredients (except the spinach) and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down to a simmer and continue to cook for around 15 minutes. This might seem longer than usual for young vegetables but cooking them for longer brings out the sweetness and improves the whole dish. Towards the end of cooking, stir in the spinach leaves to wilt, if using. Serve hot or at room temperature with the remaining olive oil swirled over the top.
Tags:
Italy
Italian
Sicily
Sicilian
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