Artichoke Soup (Zuppa di Carciofi)
5 medium artichokes
juice of one lemon
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 leeks, white and pale-green parts, sliced, washed well
3 shallots, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
6 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 fresh bay leaf
1/8 teaspoon peperoncino flakes (crushed red pepper flakes) (optional)
3 quarts water
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
Clean and prepare the artichokes. (To clean artichokes, fill a bowl with
approximately one quart of cold water and add the juice of one lemon, plus
the squeezed-out lemon halves. Peel and trim the stem of the first
artichoke. Pull off any tough outer leaves and discard. Using a paring
knife, trim away any tough parts around the base and stem of the artichoke.
With a serrated knife, cut off the top third of the artichoke and discard.)
Put cleaned artichokes in a serving bowl and toss with the lemon juice.
Heat the olive oil in a soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the leeks and
shallots. Cook until softened, about 10 minutes.
Sprinkle in the garlic, thyme, bay leaf, salt, and peperoncino. Cook until
the garlic is fragrant, about 1 to 2 minutes. Pour in the water and bring
to a boil. Add the prepped, drained artichokes, and bring the soup to a
rapid simmering. Cook, uncovered, until artichokes are tender, about
1 1/2 hours.
Stir in the chopped parsley.
Adapted from Lidia's Italy in America.